WINDHOEK- Swanu president Tangeni Iijambo has called for the conversion of some ministries into directorates within key government portfolios.
This, he said, would help contain the public wage bill – which he called an elephant in the room - and help deal with top-heavy structures of many ministries and public enterprises.
Iijambo, the newest Member of Parliament in the National Assembly after replacing former Swanu MP Usutuaije Maamberua, made this call while contributing to the 2019/20 national budget yesterday.
He feels that slashing the top-heavy structures within the public sector can significantly reduce the massive wage bill without having to resort to large-scale retrenchments.
“Our government’s refusal to downsize the top levels of public institutions creates the danger of driving Namibia towards the structural adjustment programs of the Bretton Woods institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank,” he said.
“This must be avoided by all means,” he added.
Iijambo says as per the Gini-Coefficient, Namibia remains the second most unequal society in the world.
“The inequalities of opportunity in education, income, health, employment and housing to mention a few are rampant and deserve redress,” he said, adding that these crises call for serious interventions which will require political will.
He said the wide expectation was that the three national development agendas Vision 2030, National Development Plan NDP 5 and Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) would synchronize with the developmental budget.
Ironically, he said either by design or by default none of them feature anywhere in this year budget.
Furthermore, Iijambo says corruption does a lot of harm and damage to the nation.
“The Finance Minister indicated that ’corruption is the evil that touches almost every aspect in an economy. It is one of the most immoral causes for inequality as it disproportionally benefits the few and, harms the many‘,” he said.
According to him, Namibia has lost billions of dollars through corruption in various realms, despite the existence of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
“We must have allowed looters of the state with impunity, to determine our fate,” he said.
“Some of the country’s monies are stashed in off shore accounts of the elite, hence, does not circulate in the country, causing more poverty, social injustice and inequality,” he claims.
Perhaps, he said the remedy is to strengthen the mandate of the ACC.
However, he noted that could only succeed if the ACC does not owe allegiance to the authorities.
He said Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein concluded his budget speech by stating, “we must not only approve the proposals. We must implement them prudently and timely. We must do that honestly, diligently with the common good as our only objective in mind”.
Iijambo says his final contribution hinges on self-reliance. “Once more without strong political will, we are bound to be dependent on former colonizers, on foreign investors and on emerging new superpowers,” he said.
“The rhetoric of a mixed economy in Namibia is misleading. The fundamental political ideology of capitalism underpins our economy and our budget without providing for other forms of economic activities such as workers’ cooperatives and communal ventures in rural areas.”
2019-04-10 09:19:46 11 days ago