Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani urged government to start paying more attention to specific sectors with much-needed capacity to drive the economy. Venaani also implored the government to tap more into the aspect of adding value to local commodities.
This move, said the PDM president, is central to creating jobs: “Government should think of incentivising those that are into value addition. Tax them less and expand the economic base”.
He made these remarks during his contribution last week in the National Assembly on the recently tabled mid-term budget, emphasising that for Namibia to create the necessary jobs, it needs to stimulate a vibrant small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. He added that access to finance in rural communities is limited and this obstacle remains a major challenge. “We need to accelerate the SME sector.
The economy is at the stage of participation where everyone needs to make money and transfer the effect. In the agriculture sector, there are a number of untapped opportunities in the food value chain,” noted Venaani.
According to him, Namibia needs to create a flexible ecosystem that will allow all local produce to access a market. Venaani declared agricultural mechanisation as an important concept and said it is not right that a country spends less than 4.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) on agriculture. Furthermore, he advised government to devise new policy directions, specifically mentioning that the majority of the black community are poor today as there is no value in what they own, referring specifically to property rights.
“We need to address the question of collateralising property rights in rural areas as a means to double the base of our economy,” said Venaani. Commenting on the same issue, Landless People’s Movement (LPM) president Bernadus Swartbooi said the budget could have accommodated the aspect of a basic income grant (BIG) even if it was a temporary measure for two or three years to ease the burden of poverty and hunger.