Combating corruption key in war on poverty – Geingob

By Hilary Mare

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob last week met with leading members of the private sector to discuss their role in the war against poverty and ways to help realise the vision of the country.

The consultative meeting, in which the business community – particularly in Windhoek – got an opportunity to converse directly with Geingob about key economic issues ahead of the November 27 polls, saw them acknowledge that Geingob was the prime candidate to lead Namibia, despite raising various concerns over issues affecting them in their different sectors.

In his deliberations, Geingob highlighted that Namibia had grappled with the problem of inequality for a long time and that the diagnosis of this issue as a driver of poverty in Namibia had almost made certain that the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework would see the light of day.

“NEEEF is coming to help us address imbalances of the past. If we do not do something about inequality, we are sitting on a time bomb,” Geingob said while asking what the business community thought would better address inequality. He also called for unity of purpose in dealing with economic challenges, imploring the private sector to join hands with government.

“We must disagree, not to go to war. It’s very difficult to build something but easy to destroy it. Let us hold on to what we have, correct the problems and maintain peace. There are problems, yes, economic problems, but this is your house, fix it. Countries go to war when diplomacy fails. We have to engage each other. I am glad you came out so we can talk, because I also believe in team work.”

Campaigning for a second term, Geingob told the gathering that in the continuing legacy of the Swapo Party, he had a task to bring about prosperity and hence he sought a further five-year term contract to finish what he had started.

He went on to highlight some of his inroads and spoke of the visa regime though which government is working to improve the ease of doing business, highlighting a cocktail of measures that have already been rolled out, such as visa exemptions, skills-based visas and retirement visas.

He also spoke about corruption, emphasizing that it is a disease that must be dealt with strongly.

“People sacrificed their lives for this country, and if you want to also fight you must sacrifice tenders by exposing those that are indulging in bribery and corruption. I have stopped some wrong deals, particularly the airport deal, which was inflated from N$3 billion to N$7 billion,” he remarked.