Speaker addresses IPU assembly on poverty

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George Sanzila

Windhoek-Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi says despite Namibia having inherited deep-seated economic and social inequalities from its colonial past, the country continues to strive for the economic empowerment of its citizens.

Katjavivi noted that although Namibia has made great strides in the fields of socio-economic development it still remains one of the countries in the world with the highest level of socio-economic disparities, with the gap between the haves and the have-nots still very large.

Katjavivi, who is leading a delegation of Namibian parliamentarians, made the remarks at the ongoing 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Dhaka, Bangladesh themed: ‘Redressing inequalities: Delivering on dignity and well-being for all’.

He said innovation is imperative to enhance sustainable development and noted that as part of efforts to transform Namibia’s economy, robust policies and legislation have been introduced by parliament, in collaboration with government, to reduce poverty and underdevelopment.

“We need innovative ways to be able to enhance and sustain development for our current and future generations. We have crafted policies and legislation, which are aimed at facilitating economic transformation so as to overcome poverty and underdevelopment,” he said.

Namibia’s national budget has been pro-poor and that achieving the sustainable development goals has been put at the core of the Namibian government’s developmental priorities, he added.

“We are working towards achieving the sustainable development goals. Our budget addresses the improvement of social welfare through poverty eradication and better safety net systems. We are prioritising education and skills development, as well as health services,” Katjavivi underlined.

He implored parliaments within ther ambit of the IPU to work together and devise strategic poverty eradication solutions for their respective people. “There is a need for our various parliaments within the IPU family to share strategic synergies on how to contribute towards the betterment of the welfare of our respective peoples and nations,” he argued.

In this regard, Katjavivi suggested that countries encourage both foreign and local investment with strong emphasis on value addition and protection of infant industries, skills development and a profound social grants system. He further appealed to parliamentarians to introduce policies aimed at bridging the inequality gap.
The meeting that started on Saturday concludes tomorrow.

* George Sanzila is the chief information officer in the division of research, information, publications and editorial services at the National Assembly.

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