President Hage Geingob’s targeted action plan to accelerate development, known as the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), does not replace but rather complements the long-term goal of the National Development Plans [NDPs] and Vision 2030.
HPP does however introduce an element of flexibility in the national planning system by fast-tracking development in areas where progress is insufficient. It also incorporates new development opportunities and aims to address challenges that have emerged after the formulation of NDPs. The HPP is a focused and targeted approach to achieve high impact in defined priority areas.
The HPP is built on five pillars that consist of sub-pillars to form the frame or structure of a house. These pillars are Effective Governance; Economic Advancement; Social Progression; Infrastructure Development; and International Relations and Cooperation.
Ultimately, the sub-pillars, goals, targets and actions stipulated under each of these pillars are to bring us closer to the promise of prosperity that will be characterized, among others, by a more transparent Namibia. A Namibia where no one dies because of lack of food. A Namibia where all have decent shelter and access to basic amenities. As of today New Era will every Thursday unpack each critical aspect of HPP.
Pillar One: Effective Governance: Part I – Accountability and Transparency
The goals with respect to improved accountability and transparency during the Harambee period will be to increase the country’s ranking on the Mo-Ibrahim sub index of Accountability from 65 points in 2015 to at least 90 points by the end of the Harambee period; and to improve our ranking from position 4, to become most transparent country in Africa as measured by Transparency International. Also, HPP aims to retain Namibia’s position as the country with the freest press in Africa as measured by Reporters Without Borders. Strategies and actions to be deployed to ensure the goals on accountability and transparency are met during the Harambee period:
➜ National Anti-corruption Strategy and Action Plan: The National Anti-corruption Strategy and Action Plan that covers the period 2016 to 2019 will be fully implemented during the Harambee period. This plan recognises that corruption has many facets and covers the Increasing level of political accountability; Preventing corruption in government offices, ministries, agencies and State-owned enterprises; Strengthening efforts to deter corruption; Conducting extensive anti-corruption education; Preventing corruption in the private sector; and Engaging civil society and the media in combating corruption.
➜ Income and asset declaration: The practice of income and assets declarations will continue during the Harambee period. All public office-bearers will submit declarations of business and other interests both in Parliament for Members of Parliament in terms as governed by the Rules of both Houses, and Cabinet Ministers to the President as the appointing authority. Accounting officers will also be required to submit declarations of interest and may, in the event of unmanageable conflict of interest, be required to choose whether they want to continue as civil servants or to pursue full-time business.
➜ Public expenditure and financial accountability: HPP aims to ensure that Government Ministries do not exceed the deviation margin of 2 percent as stipulated in the State Finance Act. Government is also expected to introduce Quarterly Management Accounts, in year one of HPP.
- HPP aims to achieve an execution rate of 95 percent of the Development Budget, by tabling progress reports on a quarterly basis. • HPP will strictly enforce the provisions of the new Public Procurement Act by all Offices, Ministries and Agencies. In this connection, all associated guidelines and regulations will be developed and gazetted within the first three months of Harambee. In the spirit of Harambee, such regulations will be developed in a consultative manner, with all relevant stakeholders. The Policy Advisory Unit will be operational within three months of the first year of Harambee, that is by June 2016 and the appointment of the Central Procurement Board will be finalised before December 2016. • To further enhance transparency, the Ministry of Finance will set up a special unit that will investigate concerns regarding the adjudication and award of tenders and give feedback to the public. • Tender exemptions due to the creation of artificial emergencies will not be condoned.
➜ E-procurement: To further enhance transparency in public procurement, the Ministry of Finance will deploy a computerised procurement system before the end of December 2016.
➜ Access to Public Information: To ensure that citizens have access to relevant Government information, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) will develop a plan for aligning the functions of the Public Relations and Liaison Officers to their core functions of information dissemination before end of June 2016. In addition, permissible access to information by the public must also be included in the plan. ➜ Whistle Blowers Protection: To maintain consistency with Whistle Blowers Protection, the governance architecture will further be strengthened by the enactment of a Whistle Blowers Protection Act by September 2016.
➜ Predictability and Consistency in Policy and Law making Process: To ensure more predictability and consistency in policy and law making, Government will improve the law making process, so as not to catch national stakeholders by surprise and create a them versus us situation. In this connection, the Minister of Justice in consultation with the Attorney General will propose a checklist, that will be strictly adhered to, for the policy making process by June 2016. To create more confidence in the law making process it will be compulsory for OMAs to give feedback to stakeholders following a consultative process. A comprehensive review of existing legislation that may hamper the achievements of national objectives will be undertaken and appropriate legislative amendments prioritised.
➜ E-Governance: To promote transparency and accessibility, HPP will expedite the deployment of e-governance to cover all Ministries and public agencies by 2020. The Office of the Prime Minister, in conjunction with the MICT, as the central government agency tasked with the planning, design and implementation of all Government ICT solutions, will submit a detailed roll-out plan by July 2016. All Ministries and Public Agencies will be linked to e-governance during the Harambee period.
➜ Government Online Presence: To make Government accessible, HPP will ensure that Government websites and related information sites are standardised and updated on a regular basis. A policy to that effect will be developed and submitted by the Ministry of ICT by July 2016.
➜ Responsible Social Media Deployment: We will ensure that all Government spokespersons have access to and deploy relevant social media tools responsibly across the public service. MICT will submit an approved Social Media Use Policy and Plan as part of the Government communications plan by end July 2016.
➜ Broadband access by citizens: HPP will ensure that access to affordable fixed and mobile broadband services are available to all citizens. MICT will submit a Policy and Implementation Plan by end October 2016.
- Next week New Era will publish Part II of Pillar One: Effective Governance – Improve Performance and Service Delivery.