PM preaches hope as 2022 beckonsWindhoek ∙ Mathias Haufiku
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says Namibians endured a difficult year, but urged that “the challenges we face should not discourage us, but should rather spur us to greater action”.
She said this while responding to Namibian Sun questions about the work of government during 2021 as well as its outlook for 2022.
She urged Namibians to make use of the opportunities available and march into the new year with determination to make it a better year by joining hands to fight Covid-19 and rebuild the economy.
“The year was indeed one of the most difficult, as our country faced the twin challenges of the Covid pandemic and a drought, which have caused loss of lives and livelihoods for Namibians, thus eroding the socio-economic progress that we have made through great efforts over the years,” she said.
She added that Covid-19 and drought response interventions strained government expenditure and exacerbated the already-deteriorated fiscal position caused by several years of an economic downturn.
Asked about government’s highlights for the year, the PM responded: “The government has responded to safeguard lives and livelihoods through investments in health and welfare programmes, while supporting businesses to protect jobs and promote economic recovery and national resilience to external shocks”.
She also mentioned that important reforms are being pursued to improve management of public enterprises, reduce the government wage bill, improve efficiency and effectiveness of public sector services and improve public sector accountability and transparency.
She also touched on government’s welfare programmes that have over the years served as a source of livelihood to many impoverished.
“Our welfare programmes are a part of the government development strategy which is premised on human-centered development. Efforts, therefore, continue in order to strengthen government social programmes to improve their focus and impact, while promoting their sustainability.”
“Covid has also amplified the importance of resilience-building to reduce reliance on imports, as well as the need to optimise digitalisation to improve public service delivery and promote economic growth. We shall draw from the lessons learnt in this regard and leverage on the achievements thus far,” she pointed out.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also urged the private sector to pull in one direction with government “in the spirit of Harambee to bring about the shared prosperity in our country”.
“Government policies are geared to create a conducive environment for private sector-led growth and to support the development of our human resources to realise their full potential to drive economic growth and development through, amongst others, the promotion of macro-economic stability, effective public sector governance, promoting innovation and supportive business policies,” she said.
The country offers vast opportunities for investment, the PM said, adding that residents should identify and harness the opportunities to set up local industries and engage in innovation and value addition to ensure that we realise prosperity in Namibia for Namibians.
“Businesses should also partner with government to help bring about a more equal society by investing in the welfare and development of our communities, thus ensuring that no one is left behind in the Namibian house, and empowering the communities whose custom prospers our businesses,” she said.