President Hage Geingob yesterday divulged the finer details of his audacious four-year Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), through which he intends to lead Namibia according to his vision of the promised land of radically improved socio-economic conditions.
The plan, revealed at the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, is so detailed that even the usually dismissive and negative opposition parties bought into the draft blueprint.
Parties queued up to praise President Geingob on the Harambee Plan, with many saying they want to be part of the exciting journey ahead.
Geingob and his team came up with an 84-page document, detailing how various interventions would be rolled out to put the final nail in the coffin of poverty.
Most of yesterday’s proceedings were taken up by debate on the Harambee Plan. When the opposition got a chance to pose questions to the president, many limited their scope to the new prosperity plan.
Geingob explained that successful implementation of his Harambee Plan – which seeks not to replace existing national development plans – would create a Namibia in which every inhabitant has access to the basic necessities required for a dignified life.
The Geingob administration aims to meet those basic needs and in so doing enable every Namibian to prosper according to their inherent ability and potential.
The plan, according to the Head of State, would in practice translate into a country where no one dies of hunger, where citizens have access to decent shelter and to basic amenities, such as safe drinking water, quality education, basic health services and a sustainable income to afford the necessities of life.
“Most Namibians are hopeful, because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” a confident Geingob said. “The HHP complements our shared long-term prosperity goal by targeting the immediate implementation limitations and accelerating development in the short-term,” Geingob explained.
“The plan is built on five pillars, namely effective governance and service delivery, economic advancement, social progression, infrastructure development and international relations and cooperation.”
President Geingob is hopeful that the key outcomes of his plan would lead to a more transparent Namibia, a high-performance and citizen-centred culture of service delivery, a significant reduction in poverty levels, and a reputable and competitive vocational educational training system.
Other intended outcomes include fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship, resulting in increased youth enterprise development; broader participation in the country’s economy; improved access to serviced land, housing and sanitation; guaranteed energy supply and as sufficient water for both human consumption and business activities, as well as remaining a respectable member of the international community.
The plan will also introduce annual citizen satisfaction surveys in the public sector and private sector to measure, among others, turnaround times, professionalism and accessibility.
“We will continue to consolidate the fiscal position to safeguard our fiscal sovereignty and to build up buffers for counter-cyclical policies during periods of economic downturns or global recessions.”
“To achieve our target of reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio to less than 30 percent by the end of the Harambee period, we will introduce a range of expenditure, revenue and structural reform measures.”
The HPP will see the broadening of the tax base to include the informal sector and will investigate the establishment of a State lottery.
“The objective of the State Lottery will be to supplement State revenue and ring-fence income for poverty eradication and social developmental programmes.
“Revenue collected through the State Lottery will, therefore, like the Solidarity Wealth Tax, be strictly directed to poverty eradication activities under the supervision of a special tax committee.”
During the HHP period, the State will investigate how to better leverage the assets of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to reduce the burden on the fiscus.
“The economic transformation sub-pillar emphasises local value addition through the full implementation of the Growth at Home strategy. It also aims to put in place a broad-based economic empowerment framework and to fast-track land reform.”
He explained that the HPP targets the establishment of 121 enterprises by rural youth to create much-needed sources of income for young people living in rural areas.
“We also plan to consolidate the various government funds, grants and schemes targeting the youth into a single, ring-fenced Youth Enterprise Development Fund that will focus exclusively on entrepreneurial youth start-ups with innovative funding mechanisms, such as venture capital and collateral-free lending.”
He added that by 2020 Namibia would become the most competitive economy by, among others, the reduction of red tape, simplifying the business registration process and through the provision of quality skills.
Regarding hunger and poverty, will see to it that emergency relief is there when required, introduce foods banks among the urban poor and raise agricultural productivity to address hunger and poverty in rural and communal areas, as well as the continuation of targeted social grants and safety nets.