Alweendo challenges private sector to invest in economy

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Edgar Brandt

Windhoek-Any economic or development policy is likely to achieve its goals only when there is a broad understanding and acceptance of the plan. It is therefore important to forge a true partnership in the pursuit of economic and development policies.

Towards this end, effective partnership between government, the private sector and citizens is crucial, Minister of Economic Planning Tom Alweendo has said. “Government relies on business to invest and grow the economy that is able to generate taxes that the government needs. Business in turn depends on the government to create the regulatory environment that is conducive to doing business.

“It is only through this partnership that the much-needed trust can be created so that the different interests of government and the private sector can be harmonised,” Alweendo – who also serves as the director general of the National Planning Commission – said on Friday at the annual general meeting of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).

The minister noted that while the economy currently faces some challenges that should not be understated, those challenges are not insurmountable. While much of the causes can be ascribed to external factors, he also stressed that we “should also start to reflect on some of the internal constraints and weaknesses in our economy.”

Touching on who was responsible for the current trials the economy faces, Alweendo said: “We all agree that we have problems that we need to tackle, but we should not focus on who is to blame, but rather work together on finding solutions that will generate the inclusive growth that will drive the economy.”

He went on to say the current economic downturn presents opportunities to rethink not only the structure of the economy, but also size and role of the government in the economy, stressing that the private sector should be strengthened through an enabling and conducive regulatory environment.

Alweendo argued that while it was important for the private sector to grow and expand, that could only happen if the private sector starts investing in the economy. He added that there are “green shoots starting to appear that suggest the economy is on the mend and that economic activity will pick up pace this year”.

The economic planning minister also noted that while the recent cuts – fiscal adjustments – undertaken by government involved much pain, but said the consolidation of the country’s fiscal position was necessary to ensure macro-economic stability.

He recognized the serious impact that unpaid invoices by government has had on many businesses and assured the gathering of businesspeople – as President Hage Geingob did at State House last week – that it was government’s intention to settle all outstanding invoices by the end of August.

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