President Hage Geingob says he will not entertain local and international investors in search of appointments to discuss business plans and tenders with him.
Geingob advised those requiring guidance to seek the counsel of line ministers or technocrats.
It seems Geingob was making reference to the notion that has emerged in South Africa that certain business interests have “captured the state”, so that they have preferential treatment when it comes to securing lucrative business from the state.
“I want to inform all domestic and international investors that the presidency will always welcome courtesy visits, but the tendency to seek appointments for the discussion of business plans and tenders is not welcome.”
“No meetings will be entertained in this regard and my advice is that those requiring guidance seek the counsel of line ministers or technocrats. This is to encourage the process of a multi-layered decision-making process, which encourages transparency and discourages favouritism, secrets and name-dropping,” remarked Geingob during Namibia’s 26th independence anniversary celebrations yesterday, on a day which also marked his first full year as president.
Geingob said there are some investors who go to the public and say they saw the ‘old man’ but don’t say in detail what was discussed in those meetings, and give the impression that the president had agreed with them or supported them.
Geingob said he is committed to the policy of transparency and that the fight against poverty runs concurrently with the war on corruption and their respective root causes.
He said the Public Procurement Act will ensure transparency and effectiveness in the public procurement system.
He added that the Whistleblower Protection Bill seeks to protect those who wish to provide truthful and traceable evidence of corruption, without suffering victimization.
“We need to move away from innuendo and rumour-mongering and move towards providing evidence,” he said.
The president said corruption is about ethics and those who are uninvolved but aware of corrupt activities, yet remain silent. “Those who falsely accuse others of corruption and those who succumb to the solicitation of bribes are part of the problem,” he said.
He added that people’s expectations after 26 years of independence are high and people want food, clothing and shelter. “They want jobs, better housing and good nutrition. They want a leader who will bring prosperity to the nation and they want that leader to act quickly.”
He said there is a small minority that would like to suggest that no progress was made since independence and that government’s spending priorities are misplaced.
Geingob said that in his state-of-the-nation address in two weeks’ time he would dedicate adequate time to provide his rebuttal to those wrongly placed notions.
Drawing a comparison between pre- and post-independence Namibia, Geingob indicated that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at N$5.5 billion in 1990.
“At present our GDP has increased to N$166 billion, a thirty-fold increase,” Geingob said.
Geingob further said the manufacturing sector in 1990 was worth N$290 million but had increased to N$15 billion.
He said the total budget tabled in 1990 was N$2 billion and the capital or development budget only N$254 million.
“In this current fiscal year, the capital budget alone is worth N$9 billion and we will spend N$1.2 billion on funding students through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund,” he said.
“The education and health sectors continue to receive the bulk of state resources. These clearly demonstrate our commitment and prioritization of developing a Namibia where all Namibians may prosper,” underscored the head of state.
Geingob also mentioned that Namibia’s economy has continued to grow at an average of five percent in recent years, despite the global commodities downturn, which has severely affected resources-based countries.
The president said the macro-economic architecture is sound and characterized by decades of growth and stability.
“It is pertinent that we focus our attention on the gaps within our socio-economic architecture and the disparity in income inequality. After 26 years, it is time to focus on the objective of prosperity for all,” he further assured the nation.