After celebrating 24 years of Independence, Namibia still finds its self facing a multitude of challenges namely quality education, unemployment, quality health facilities, high property prices and unskilled workforce.
While the citizens’ battle to come to grips with everyday life, it’s shocking to find the foreign affairs ministry seeking to open more embassies.
According to its plans, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning on opening four diplomatic missions this year which will be set up in Congo Brazzaville, Dakar in Senegal, Accra in Ghana and Helsinki in
Finland and are part of the ministry’s Foreign Mission Representation Programme.
Foreign Affairs Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the opening of the missions is part of the implementation of the National Development Programme (NDP) and fulfilling Vision 2030.
A total of N$768m will be used to enhance functions of the existing 27 diplomatic missions.
The big question on most people’s mind is whether the timing is right for the government to be splashing more rather than tightening government expenditure.
Government has shown an offhand interest in increasing expenditure on establishments, with the announcement of the new N$700m Parliament earlier this year and now the establishment of missions in Ghana, DRC and Finland.
With this decision ,Government would have spent millions of dollars in setting itself up in three more countries which have close relations with Namibia, but the timing seems to be insensitive to the growth of home grown skills.
Does government really need to open all these embassies at a time when we are battling a severe case of an increasing unemployment rate in youths especially.
While Namibia is experiencing a skills shortage which has a huge impact on the economy, Government seems to be set on spending more money on establishments than dealing with the core problem which is lack of skills. Skill development cannot be enhanced while Government spends millions of dollars across the borders with its tendency of bringing in foreigners to raise or baby sit national projects.
It should be noted that Namibia has been able to avoid the international debt plague since it has been able to manage its monetary and fiscal policy with much care, regardless at a time when money should be pumped into projects that should be benefiting locals, more N$ seems to be crossing the borders.
In Vol.3 no.37 of The Villager, the issue of inadequate academic institutions in the country was raised just before the Celebration of the 24th chair Leake Hangala pointed out that “More universities and training colleges should be built in the country, to enhance the education and skills levels and unemployment should be addressed urgently”. We acknowledge the importance of foreign missions but, should education not be government’s first priority?
Just last month the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) told The Villager that it is considered pulling funding from aviation students. So again we pose the questions to you, is having foreign missions more important than making sure Namibia has qualified pilots?
The fruit of Independence is supposed to show in our ability to boast of our internal achievements after all.