WINDHOEK – Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein has reiterated his firm stance that the current economic headwinds, necessitated conditions for fiscal consolidation by government, to ensure financial sustainability and to protect the country’s macroeconomic stability.
Addressing farmers in the Omaheke Region during the recent opening of the Agribank branch at Gobabis, Schlettwein said all indications are that the economy would rebound into positive growth territory during 2018, with a potential boost on jobs and commensurate disposal incomes.
“At this juncture, I must state that gone are the days where Treasury support to public enterprises went unchecked,” said Schlettwein.
In fact, he said, going forward, government will require commercial, public entities to become self-sustainable although shareholder support could still be considered and granted where necessary.
Schlettwein told farmers soaring land prices in Namibia are not only a political concern but also an economic stumbling block.
“Owning a farm or land in Namibia can no longer be just considered as a life-style choice or a wealth symbol, or even a retirement insurance,” he said.
He said Agricultural landowners, developers and farmers must see themselves as agricultural enterprise leaders, who are actively and positively contributing to the overall production output of the country economy.
“Especially land bought on credit must be productive, else it becomes a national liability,” he told farmers.
He said farmers and land owners need to diversify their agricultural production system, move into value addition and increase output.
He said government has enable Agribank stand by the side of the producers or farmers to support him or her in doing so.
“Many new loans products has been developed and brought to the market by Agribank, that seek to support the agricultural development process since the recent years,” he said.
Schlettwein says Namibia has the capacity to feed its nation and moreover an obligation to do so.
And again, he said, this requires deliberately targeted and coherent policies that positively affect the agricultural and finance sectors. At independence, he said, Namibia produced less than five percent of the population fresh produce needs but today, more 50 percent of the country fresh produce is “grown at home”.