Voice of SME’s needed at poverty consultation forums

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Windhoek

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are urged to actively participate in the ongoing public consultation forums on wealth redistribution and poverty eradication organised by the Ministry of Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.

The consultations kicked off yesterday in Otjozondjupa with the aim of building a national consensus and stimulating inclusive and innovative proposals from the public.

“These consultative engagements will enable us to forge collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including private sector entities, so that the resultant poverty eradication strategy reflects a concerted approach from all,” the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta, told a packed Oretwoveni Community Hall in Otjiwarongo yesterday.

The regional consultations would take place in the capitals of all 14 regions until September 28, with a focus on four major themes: employment creation through SMEs and community economic development, skills development and training, deprivation from basic services, and social safety nets for vulnerable communities.

“We’re building a nation based on a shared vision, as per our Vision 2030, a country where poverty would not have space. Thus, these consultative meetings will afford us an opportunity to engage with you, as representatives of wider communities – including the poorest of the poor – and to propose workable and sustainable wealth redistributive strategies to eradicate poverty. Through these engagements clear recommendations should be provided, not wish-lists, but workable proposals,” Kameeta said.

The Basic Income Grant (BIG) coalition has also thrown its support behind the public consultation forums, saying although the themes on the agenda “do not capture some critical areas of redistribution (such as control over land and natural resources), the outcome of the consultations will be critical for shaping the way forward.”

“This platform must not be wasted for a mere exchange of formalities and elite views, but must encourage Namibians to express themselves on the BIG, which is very different from cash-for-work programmes or food banks.

The BIG needs to be acknowledged as a far-reaching tool to eradicate poverty,” Reverend Wilfred Nico Diergaardt, chairperson of the BIG Coalition, said in a statement yesterday.

“We’re holding these regional consultations under the overarching theme of wealth redistribution to arrest poverty, with the key objective to build a national consensus and stimulate inclusive and innovative proposals from you, the stakeholders, on how to effectively and sustainably drive a national wealth redistribution agenda, which points to a high level of skewedness, with resources only vested in the few,” Kameeta said.

The public consultation forum would be in //Karas region on September 16, it would then move onto Omusati region on September 17, while the meeting for Hardap region is on September 18, the same day for Ohangwena Region.

Meetings for Kavango West and Omaheke regions are scheduled for September 21, while Oshana Region’s meeting is scheduled for September 23. The dates for other regions have yet to be confirmed.

Kameeta-SME

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