A message of hope in the midst of political and economic impasse
AFTER a two-year economic crisis and now the declaration of a public health pandemic, which could see Namibia spiral into extreme poverty with no economic prospects, Government and the private sector need to take hands and develop a way forward.
To combat diseases and poverty, one needs food and medicine, to get food and medicine, people need jobs and to get jobs, we need to give all people (foreign and local) reason to invest.
The short term and medium term collapse of some industries are putting more strain on the rest of the economy. Tourism alone represented 10.9 percent of GDP, to plug this gap, other industries would need to expand drastically, but no stimulus package or crisis fund will be sufficient. We need to incentivise international and local investors to create industries.
By having jobs, we could ensure more for all citizens and especially the middle-class citizens, which would ensure healthier people with better quality of life, also ensuring social- and political stability.
To achieve this in the next three years, is possible, but we need to boldly safeguard current jobs and ensure new jobs are created.
This can all be done with a close working relationship between Government and the private sector. Here are some action plans to combat economic and social disasters:
• Temporary reduction in PAYE and company tax (32 to 22 percent) to stimulate spending and investment. The proof will be in the pudding, if the economy grows more in that time than what was lost in tax revenue, change temporary reduction into long term tax measure;
• Immediate and indefinite freeze on anti-investment policies, (e.g. Manufacturing incentives repeal, dividend tax proposal, etc.), only possible to table after three years and detailed economic impact study. Re: Rwanda example, private sector (chosen through private sector bodies) representative to sit in Cabinet and advise on economic effects of decisions made;
• Private sector committee to sit with parastatals, i.e. Nampower Board and NamWater Board monthly to discuss expansion on supply options and how to decrease prices;
• Private sector to give recommendations to Ministry of Labour to increase productivity;
• Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade to investigate areas where duties on inputs are making locally produced products less competitive – locally or international;
• Outreach programme to Embassies and form committee (private sector and Government) to investigate types of industries that can be based in Namibia;
• Special citizenship incentive for high investments, for example, every 1 000 applicants who make U$1 million upwards investment into Namibia (must prove job creation);
If we as a nation are serious about changing Namibia for the better, by ensuring long-term job and wealth creation, more middle-class people and a prosperous economy, we will need to work much more closely together.
Extreme actions are needed to safeguard our children’s futures. We are at a crossroads and we need to stand up for our future.
It is doable and the current challenges must teach us that we cannot continue to preach stability amidst poverty and hopelessness. Let us together create hope for our people and Namibia can be a shining example on the continent.
Finally, I appeal to all men and women of vision and integrity to come out and be counted to bring back HOPE to our beautiful country Namibia.
I rest my case and let the conversation begin.
Libolly L. Haufiku