Economy cannot afford another lockdown - !Gawaxab

Regional stakeholders engaged
Adolf Kaure
Swakopmund • [email protected]

The governor of the Bank of Namibia (BoN), Johanness !Gawaxab, recently met with stakeholders from the Erongo region to discuss and exchange views on pressing matters in the region and the country as a whole.

The stakeholders included local leadership as well as the business community.

Namibia’s gross domestic product contracted by 8% in 2021, eradicating jobs and hobbling businesses, while also putting pressure on government debt.

According to !Gawaxab, the country cannot afford another lockdown as it would jeopardise more jobs and businesses, however trying to correct the negative effects of Covid-19 on the economy will take time.

“Over the year, Namibia has grappled with the high unemployment rate and income disparities, a situation that has been worsened by the economic ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

!Gawaxab opined that the vaccination policy will help the economy.

“For the economy to recover, we need successful vaccination, investments and stability of the financial sector.”

He added that while he is not oblivious to the economic challenges the country faces, there is much to be proud of in terms of Namibia’s achievements since independence.

“Indeed, Namibians together with the rest of the world, have been going through unprecedented and difficult times since the outbreak of the pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs, which pushed household incomes to low levels, further aggravating the economic slowdown triggered by supply constraints.”

!Gawaxab pointed out that in order to contain the pandemic, government had to incur significant expenses, which has undone the good work done around fiscal consolidation.

“Our public debt is currently on an unsustainable path,” he said.

The governor emphasised that for Namibia’s economy to revive on a long-term basis, import substitution, export promotion and investments should be considered as feasible policy choices, and be pursued aggressively.

Other matters discussed include the rise of unlawful financial schemes, or pyramid schemes, and the public’s rising interest in investing in crypto-currencies.