President Hage Geingob will this afternoon deliver his annual State of the Nation Address amid escalating prices of consumer goods, rampant unemployment and a struggling economy. Analysts believe Geingob will highlight government’s initiatives to address some of the economic sufferings that Namibians are experiencing during the speech.
Over the last few months, the country has seen a significant increase in oil and food prices. Petrol and diesel prices have increased by about 51% and 60% in the last 12 months, respectively. Fuel prices went up by more than a dollar for both petrol and diesel atmidnight.
This will bring Walvis Bay petrol prices to N$19.10 per litre and diesel over the N$20 mark at N$20.23 per litre.
Tomorrow, white sugar prices are set to increase by 20%, thereby adding more pressure on consumers, who are already faced with rising food prices.
Namibia’s largest grain-processing company Namib Mills confirmed an increase in prices of wheat flour, pasta, bread, rice, maize meal, instant porridge and sugar.
Political analyst Gerson Sindano said, since the Namibian people are hurting economically, the only message that can resonate well with the public should be how the government intends to mitigate some of the economic pain in the short term that the people continue to endure. “We expect the president to give moral support to the nation,” he said, adding the nation will also expect the President to inform the nation about the outcome of some of the recent investment meetings he has attended in Qatar and Dubai.
“Overall, the Namibian people want to hear from their President reassurance about the government’s commitment to agriculture as the price of food continues to skyrocket in Namibia.” Sindano said it would be great if the president touches on the status of the recent oil discovery, going forward, saying, so far, the nation has been patient in the face of high prices of commodities but the government has not yet met the people halfway.
“There should be measures in place to ensure that the hardest-hit members of our society are looked after,” he stated. Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament (MP) Vipua Muharukua said he hopes Geingob will announce new initiatives to address joblessness among the Namibian youth.
“I hope to hear about the subsidising of farmers and on fuel workers maintenance costs. I hope to hear what the government is going to do to encourage young people to start farming. “Fuel prices must be addressed as a matter of urgency. I hope to hear how ordinary Namibians are planning to directly benefit from the discovered oil and hydrocarbon,” he added.
Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said the nation should not expect anything new, game-changer news or policy direction. “I expect the President to speak along his theme of reimaging, therefore emphasising his HPP2, green hydrogen project, and the investment conference, reopening of the economy, and the rescue plan to revive the economy,” he said. He said, most probably, Geingob would touch on the consultations he had with the opposition parties as part of the reimaging political culture.
“I also think that he may address the public anger about the exclusionary independence celebration at the coast,” he said. Nudo parliamentarian Josef Kauandenge said he expects Geingob to bring a plan of action to parliament on how Namibia will get its economy on its food.
“We don’t want the President to be sub-rude – to answer questions without arrogance because it is his arrogance that has caused chaos in parliament in the past. He must remember that in addressing parliament, he is not doing us a favour but it is a constitutional right,” Kauandenge said.
Last year, National Assembly descended into chaos when a brawl between security forces and parliamentarians belonging to the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) broke out. Security officials sprang into action after Speaker Peter Katjavivi ordered them to evict a defiant LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi shortly after President Geingob had delivered his State of the Nation address and was taking questions from the opposition.
While being escorted out of the House, Swartbooi also knocked off the ceremonial mace from its stand, leading to heightened tension inside the chamber.
It was at this point that his deputy, Henny Seibeb, ripped up a copy of the Harambee Prosperity Plan in front of the President’s bench.
Seibeb was shoved, carried and manhandled out of the chamber, forcing Katjavivi to suspend the joint sitting.
Afterwards, the duo was temporarily suspended from parliament. – email@example.com