!Gawaxab shares vision for central bank

By Hilary Mare

BANK of Namibia governor, Johannes !Gawaxab who last week celebrated being in office for 100 days has shared his vision for the Bank which he believes can help create economic prosperity for Namibia by maintaining price and financial stability.

!Gawaxab  who assumed  duty  as  governor  on  June  2,  following  his appointment by President Hage  Geingob on April 21 2020, said that although monetary and financial stability are necessary conditions that the Bank needs to excel at, these are not sufficient conditions for long-term prosperity.

“Therefore, the Bank needs to contribute to creating an enabling macroeconomic and financial stability environment, to help grow the economy, create jobs and improve the livelihoods of the majority of the Namibian people. This is in addition to focusing on initiating requisite structural reforms and assisting with their effective implementation,” said !Gawaxab.

In achieving this vision, !Gawaxab noted that priorities on the journey include achieving and maintaining price stability, ensuring a stable and sound financial system, contributing towards economic growth, operating effectively and efficiently and investing in Namibians.

Overall, !Gawaxab stated that his vision is summed up as “fix the bank, modernise the financial system and help secure economic recovery”.

He also said that by taking up the challenge as governor of the central bank, he answered the call made by the country, given the sheer scale of the unprecedented socio-economic challenges facing the country, and the confidence that he has the skills and the opportunity to make a contribution.

“The possibility to help to reform the Namibian financial system to be ready for the 21st century and modernising the operations of the Bank add to the challenge and to my desire to leave the Bank and the country in a better position than the one we are in now,” said the governor.

Despite the current economic challenges, !Gawaxab’s 100 days in office yielded accomplishments that are preparatory and focused on ensuring longer term successes. In view of this, the governor had extensive stakeholder engagements , aimed at building a bridge between the Bank and its constituencies, collecting intelligence relating to activities of the monetary policy committee, the financial stability mandate of the Bank and operations of the economy in general. In this regard, the governor met with the top leadership of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Chamber of Mines, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Managing Directors of diamond mines and diamond sales, marketing and trading companies.

Additionally, the governor attended two Monetary Policy Committee meetings in which he chaired the last one where it was decided to cut the interest rate by 25 basis points. Under his leadership the Bank spent time ensuring that the relief measures provided are implemented.

“My experience has taught me to be careful not to fall into the low-hanging fruit trap – which subjects leaders to spend most of their energy seeking early wins, but which contribute very little to achieving long term business objectives,” said !Gawaxab.