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Make or break time for Namibia

Make or break time for Namibia

Zorena Jantze

IN a bid to resuscitate the Namibian economy which has experienced lacklustre growth over the last four years, the High Level Panel on the Namibian Economy (HLPNE), presented their final report to President Hage Geingob.


The panel which was instituted last year by the President was tasked to organize the country’s first-ever Economic Summit which saw a myriad of investments amounting up to N$20 billion pledged by both local and international investors.


HLPNE’s chairperson, Johannes Gawaxab, during a visit to State House gave the President a brief update on the progress on implementing investment pledges from the Economic Summit and what recommendations the panel has compiled to address inequality, poverty and plans to revive the sluggish economy.


Giving an update on projects and monies pledged at the Economic Summit, Gawaxab stated that all funds pledged at the summit were audited externally and are accounted for.


Gawaxab told President Geingob that of the total of N$20 billion valuated from the Economic Summit, N$2.2 billion of these investments have already been dispersed into the local economy.


Namibian economy High Level Panel
A TIME FOR CHANGE: Johannes Gawaxab accompanied by some of the members of the High Level Economic Panel at state house. – Photo: Zorena Jantze.


With regard to the public sector reforms drawn up at the summit, Gawaxab stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs has done quite well in implementing reforms such as Visa on Arrival application and granting resident permits to investors who wish to live in Namibia.


Touching on the report presented to the president, Gawaxab stated that the panel consulted, youth, trade unions, the private sector, and research papers and other countries on what the way forward is in bringing about improved economic growth.


“What we are proposing is evidence-based practical solutions. Doing nothing is no longer a choice. As Namibians, it’s time to take painful difficult decisions, if the current status quo continues, we are compromising our sovereignty as a country,” Gawaxab said.


The report includes a Ten Point Plan, which includes micro-economic stability, housing, SOEs, reforming of the fishing quota and fishing right allocation system, mineral licenses, public sector reforms, leveraging public assets and housing.


Furthermore, Gawaxab stated that the country will also steer its focus on going green in Namibia, as the country can become the first zero-emissions country in Africa and start accessing money through all the green funds around the world.


He added that the implementation time period of the recommendations in the report will span over the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, recommendations have also been submitted on medium-term goals such as National Development Plan 6 (NDP6).


“The current system needs to be reviewed so that the proceeds of the country‘s natural resources go to the majority of Namibians. However, implementing these recommendations is the President’s prerogative.” Gawaxab said.