Staff Reporter Windhoek-While Namibia managed to decrease poverty levels and increase its income in the period between 2012 and 2016, the country did not significantly reduce unemployment levels. In a statement to the National Assembly, Economic Planning Minister Tom Alweendo was at pains to point out that, “Although one of the priorities laid out in NDP4 was job creation, the biggest development challenge that is still unyielding is that of unemployment.” A total number of 79,544 jobs were created during the period of the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4), which is 88 percent of the target set out in the plan. The target was to have 90,000 jobs created during the NDP4 period. Yet, “because of the economic downturn during 2016, instead of net job creation there was a net job loss last year. “In fact, the latest Labour Force Survey suggests that unemployment is on the increase,” Alweendo said. NDP4 was implemented from 2012 and ended in March 2017. Alweendo pointed out that despite stagnation in job numbers the economy grew on average by 4,7 percent during the five-year period. That growth must be seen against the projected average growth rate of 6 percent over the same period. The country’s total income, that indicates statistically how how rich Namibians are, went up by 10 percent in the same period, jumping from N$42,000 per capita to N$47,000. Further, poverty levels declined to 18 percent in 2016 from 28 percent in 2010. Also, in the NDP4 period the country managed to reduce the inequality gap above the projections set out in the plans. “With regard to reducing income inequality, the target during NDP4 was to achieve a Gini-coefficient of 0.48 from a baseline of 0.597, as per the 2009/2010 Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey. The NDP4 outcome was 0.572, according to the preliminary [survey] for 2015/16, showing a marginal improvement from the baseline,” said Alweendo. “While there has been a notable improvement in our socio-economic environment in various areas of NDP4, such as quality of education, health outcomes, environment and good governance, we acknowledge that much more needs to be done. “It is also important to note that during the NDP4 implementation period we were faced by some challenging economic headwinds,” he said. One of the most important lessons from the implementation of NDP4 was that “a plan is an effective development tool only when the potential beneficiaries have helped shape such a plan,” he noted. In view of this realisation the NDP5 was drafted with input from the public. The NDP5 went into implementation this year and will run for a period of five years. “We are convinced that most of our biggest challenges can be resolved successfully only when the government teams up with businesses, development, partners, social entrepreneurs and citizens at large,” he added. Other lessons from NDP4 that have been carried over to NDP5 include the need to be more forceful in promoting a strong work ethic, a sense of duty to others and inculcating in the general population a thirst for self-improvement. “We need to understand that in the progression of our socio-economic development agenda, there are no more too many low-hanging fruits waiting to be picked. What is needed is to be bold in implementing our agreed development plans without fail. “It certainly does not augur well for our future wellbeing when some among us are more concerned with short-term gains that are likely to jeopardise our future wellbeing,” he noted.
2017-11-08 08:44:14 10 months ago