Dissolving the dream in PEAC
The Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) was established first in 2006 by President Hikifepunye Pohamba to advise him on economic matters. It’s emerging now that the first lot that numbered more than 30 people failed to bring tangible results and was disbanded in 2009. The National Planning Commission was then tasked to reconstitute a new group to help the President on what to do with the economy. The problem is that the NPC has not yet come up with names. This leaves the President with only one economic advisor -the NPC itself.
Amidst all the gloom over another global economic slowdown, sky rocketing unemployment and fears of a policy paralysis, the country seems to have lost sightof an interesting national milestone - the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).The council was disbanded during the global recession in 2009 on grounds of failure. This was less than three years after President Hifikepunye Pohamba had appointed more than 30 people as his economic advisors.Since then, President Pohamba has had no independent economic adviser and he relies on the Government bankrolled National Planning Commission (NPC).
NPC Director General Tom Alweendo confirmed to The Villager that his office has been mandated to reconstitute PEACwith relevant technocrats after the previous group was declared unnecessarily huge. "PEAC was at some point five years ago trimmed to 30 but the move still failed to bring results prompting Government to shelve its operations and have it constituted by a small efficient group. The issue is that there were no real tangible results. “It would also be very important to take precaution against repeating the same formula that did not bring results so when the reconstitution is completed, the group will be different and the number will also be smaller than the first one,” Alweendo said. Some of the big names mentioned in the failed task of advising the President and the country on the economy include top bankers Advocate Vekuii Rukoro and Theo Mberirua, top business woman Monica Kalondo, Swapo politician Paul Smit and business tycoon Harold Pupkewitz, who was the executive chairperson.
Although the only economic advisor to the President at the moment Alweendo says even if PEAC was disbanded to avoid role duplication with his institute, he seemingly does not have Tirivangani Masawi and Shasimana Uugulu A case of too many cooks but still a problem with an economic independent body adding, “but we should revise the terms of reference for the benefit of the country”.
However, there is no timeframe for PEAC’s reconstitution, according to Alweendo. But Advocate Rukoro has hit back at Government for not listening and implementing the recommendations. “Until a time when Government knows that actions have consequences and a system is put in place where people who do not deliver will be fired just like what is done in the private sector then we will not move forward.
“I challenge those who say we (PEAC) have failed to publish our shortcomings and our job and let the people judge. Even though the President has his own good adviser there is always need to have an independent view that can deal with the challenges especially when it comes to implementation. It will, however, remain his decision to implement or not implement the issues raised,” said Advocate Rukoro. He also added that Namibia remains a country of good ideas, policies and visions but no action. “Today Namibia still suffers the same of poor delivery and a sluggish Gross Domestic Product because of the reluctance to implement policies,” Rukoro said.