!Gawaxab warns against salary increases
By Hilary Mare
GOVERNOR of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes !Gawaxab has advised that this is not an appropriate time for people to demand salary increases since the country is still reeling from the implications of Covid-19 which it is seeking to recover from.
At a meeting with the central bank’s stakeholders in the Erongo region last week, !Gawaxab reminded them that Namibia’s GDP shrank by eight percent in 2021, eliminating jobs and hobbling businesses while also putting pressure on the government debt.
“While I share the plight of those demanding salary increases, my view and advice is that perhaps it is not the appropriate time to demand such as many corporates and the government are under severe Covid -19 induced financial strain.
“What we need to pre-occupy ourselves with is to salvage the economy by prioritising vaccination across the country,” he said adding that the country cannot afford another hard lockdown since it would jeopardise more jobs and businesses.”
!Gawaxab stated that correcting the negative effects of Covid-19 on the economy will take time. However, the he was quick to point out that activity in mining and agriculture has started showing signs of recovery, while the tourism sector is still awaiting the return of international tourists.
Furthermore, the governor reminded stakeholders that “the vaccination policy is economic policy” and as such, for the economy to recover, “we need successful vaccination, investments and stability of the financial sector.”
He further emphasised that for Namibia’s economy to revive on a long-term basis, import substitution, export promotion and investments should all be considered as feasible policy choices, and pursued aggressively. This entails providing as much assistance to local firms as possible through local procurement and the ethos of Namibians shopping locally.
This is in addition to policy recommendations such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan II, which must be executed with the appropriate urgency in order to achieve the much-needed economic recovery.
Finally, the governor wrapped up the meeting by discussing the rise of unlawful financial schemes and the public’s rising interest in investing in crypto currencies. According to him, illegal financial schemes, often known as pyramid schemes, have the potential to cause hardworking Namibians to lose their already limited financial resources.
On crypto currencies, !Gawaxab said, “Crypto assets are without fundamental value, are highly volatile and lack transparency. The bank does not recognise, support, or recommend the possessing, utilisation and trading of cryptocurrencies in Namibia. As a result, members of the public who use these online-based platforms and instruments do so at their own risk and have no recourse.”
He however assured the public that BoN is doing work around crypto assets and further pronouncement will be made once such work is completed.