Today New Era continues with its coverage of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) with a closer look at Economic Competitiveness within the Economic Advancement Pillar. According to the HPP, the challenges facing the country, particularly unemployment, poverty, hunger and economic inequalities, require a fast growing and globally competitive economy driven by competitive enterprises and a productive workforce.
In line with NDP4, we will strive to improve our competitiveness ranking from current position No. 4, to become the most competitive economy in Africa by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Indicators. To ensure the country becomes the most competitive economy in Africa by the year 2020, the following strategies and actions will be deployed:
➜ Investment Promotion Bill: We will ensure the enactment of the Investment Promotion Bill and release the Investment Incentives Guidelines in year one of Harambee. The proposed legislation provides for amongst others, investor incentives and protection, sector reservations, and defines strategic sectors of national interest. ➜ Implement outstanding recommendations of the 2010 Investor Roadmap audit: We will implement all of the following outstanding recommendations from the 2010 Investor Roadmap Audit findings within year one of the Harambee period. ➜ Re-engineering registration of businesses and intellectual property: According to the World Bank Doing Business Report of 2016, Namibia is ranked 164 out of a total of 189 countries in the Ease of Starting a Business category. We will, as a matter of urgency ensure that the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) Act is promulgated before September 2016; that BIPA is fully set up by December 2016 and that within the current year the registration and administration process of the setting up of a business is streamlined and simplified.
➜ Practical training and import of skilled labour: Under HPP the gap between the demand for and supply of skilled labour will be addressed by supporting practical training programmes and streamlining of the system for the import of skilled labour. With regard to the latter, the Ministry of Home Affairs will adopt a new streamlined system for approving work permits for scarce skills by the end of June 2016.
➜ Public procurement and private sector supply chains: We will leverage the Public Procurement Act and Supply Chain of the Mining Sector to develop 30 micro and small medium enterprises starting in year two of Harambee.
➜ Industrial erven: To overcome the challenge of shortage of serviced industrial plots, we will service 415 hectares of business and industrial plots, starting in year one of the Harambee period. The land-servicing programme will be rolled out to other regions with strong private sector presence during the Harambee period. In the spirit of Harambee, regional and local authorities making land available at no or minimal cost will be encouraged.
➜ Property registration: We will build the capacity to address bottlenecks and reduce the number of days it takes to register property from the current 52 to 25 days by year four of Harambee.
➜ Increased pass mark of Grades 10 and 12: To improve on the quality of education, we will increase the percentage of Grade 10 and 12 learners achieving a pass mark of 24 and 30 respectively and a passing symbol of E in English from 55 percent to 60 percent in year two of Harambee.
➜ Improve quality of higher education: Financial incentives will be considered for Namibian Higher Education Institutions ranked amongst the Top 30 universities on the Africa Universities ranking index.
➜ Productivity centre: We will establish a Productivity Centre in year two of Harambee, that will regularly assess productivity of the Namibian labour force, as well as proposing remedial measures where productivity is deemed sub-standard.
➜ Regular and structured dialogue: Dialogue and cooperation between the public and private sectors is a key success factor when it comes to driving economic growth and job creation. In the Harambee spirit, regular and structured Public-Private-Dialogue (PPD) platforms will be established to jointly identify and address existing challenges in the business environment.
➜ Presidential Economic Advisory Council: PEAC will be revamped and members will be appointed by the President from local experts and complimented by an external eminent individual in year one of Harambee.
- Tomorrow we will continue unpacking the Harambee Prosperity Plan by taking a closer look at Pillar 3: Social Progression.