Following the recent revision of Namibia’s economic rating by Fitch, a near situation to one of exasperation ensued and surely shall continue to cause some consternation and alarm as long as the rot within our public expenditure remains unstoppable and irreversible.
This realisation does not in any way mean reneging from what I maintained earlier concerning some of the ratings by these rating companies, whose intent more than anything is akin to holding the country at ransom.
This being ultimately a veiled economic professional watch over Namibia’s policymakers lest they touch the goose that lays the golden eggs, these eggs being the privilege and confines of Namibia’s economic elite, mostly whites, and their comprador black and/or African allies, the black/African middle class, including the country’s political elite.
But the hidden agenda of the ratings notwithstanding, we cannot entirely dismiss their findings.
Because, at best such ratings can be a cue to policymakers and the country’s political elite to go slow on the spendthrifts and avarices that seem rampant in the country, and with little impunity for that matter and with no holds barred.
Such ratings should in the least give our policymakers and the political elite that things may not be normal and that further spending and/or economic mismanagement of the country’s resources cannot bode well for the future of the country.
At best they should trigger them into real action to stop the rot. As much as many, especially the political elite may conveniently wish to want to turn a blind eye to such ratings, they are an important indication that the course on which the country, and its economy may have been treading, may not be a prosperous one.
One need not wait until any rating revision by Fitch, and sundry, as most of the times all the signs about the state of health of the economy. This state may as yet not be in acute care, but it may not be long before the country finds its economy in dire straits. In fact, the mere fact that the country has been unable to afford the 8 percent increase teachers requested, among other civil servants’ salaries raises, is enough a telling signs calling not only for caution but also drastic measures to convince any cautious and ardent observer that things may not be necessarily abnormal. But surely, as much, they cannot be said to be normal.
Despite the situation being near to precarious and volatile, as it has been seeming, one has been seeing little signs and/or evidence of the ominous signs that have been flickering and to which the attention of policymakers and political elite have been drawn by the revision of ratings such as the one by Fitch, by economic analysts, among others, they seem unmoved. One cannot, of course, be oblivious to the actions of the government, especially as spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance, as evidenced by a cap on all new tenders.
Still, until one sees similar evident and concerted actions across, especially the broader political spectrum, and public spending, it would be hard to believe any singular and isolated action, how well -meaning it may be intended, as being consequent. The most disturbing phenomenon within our public expenditure sphere, is the apparent waste.
One needs look no further than the daily media reports cataloguing such waste. As a case in point this week, a national daily reported of an investigation of wasteful spending within the //Karas Regional Council amounting to a reported N$77 million. This may be only one case coming to light.
How many cases would never come to light, let alone how many are yet to come to light? The said investigation may only be the icing on the cake. It is known too well how many a times the reports of the Auditor General have unravelled rots within many of our local authorities. And the frightening thing is that such rots do not and cannot be confined to local authorities. Worse it is still to be seen if those implicated would ever be brought to book.
One of the cardinal pillars of the incumbent president’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), is good governance. With such rot entrenching itself daily, and continuing unabated, surely the good intentions of good governance are only but a pipedream, and as much the entire Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP). Because while scant resources must be applied towards priorities such the HPP, they find themselves in the bottomless pockets of the very state operators, and their fellow parasites in the private sector pretending to be entrepreneurs and businesspeople.