Namibia’s economic growth rate stood at 4.5% in the last financial year (2014), a percentage well below the country’s target of 6%, but within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) target of 4.8%.
The economic growth rate in 2013 was 5.1%, which means that it decreased in 2014. However, it is projected that economic growth in 2015 would be 4.9%.
Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Tom Alweendo said with this average rate, it looks like the country’s economic growth is well below the targeted 6%, adding that if the 4.9% is the final outcome, then it is still good.
The 6% targeted economic growth was meant to be the average per annum over a five-year period.
In addition to economic growth, in 2014 alone 22 700 jobs were created, an increase from 2013’s 19 500 jobs. This figure surpassed the government’s target of 18 000 jobs. However, the current inequality in income distribution was 0.58%, which was well above the target, with government wanting to reduce it to at least 0.4%.
These achievements were within the country’s Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4), which stated that the three main goals are to have sustainable economic growth, which economic growth should be accompanied by employment-creation and closing it off with equal income distribution.
Alweendo expressed the view that NDP4 was crafted in a slightly different way as opposed to the other NDPs, with the understanding that too many things were planned before but were unfortunately not executed. Thus, the sole mandate of this current plan is to execute most of the planned policies.
“Instead of having too many goals, we can have a few goals and target them forcefully. If we have these goals, they must come from the targeted sectors, which are agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, construction and logistics. The NDP4 recognised that these goals have to be achieved. They have fundamental factors which need to be addressed, and we realise for the economy to be build, it needs certain sectors,” Alweendo stressed.
He said the country needs to be competitive in terms of economic growth, and thus reduce extreme poverty. The previous NDPs were not properly monitored or evaluated, but the latter has been done for the NDP4.
“There must be ways to monitor and evaluate the NDP4 ourselves. Thus, we created a department tasked to look at the progress of implementation. As government, we need to break away from setting-up policies, yet we fail to implement them,” he stated.
The NDP4 is expected to lapse by March 2017, but Alweendo said although it seems like a period faraway, it is in fact close, therefore the urgency to implement most of the plans.
He added that the country needs to realise the dream of becoming a logistics’ hub, at the same time addressing the current energy and housing crises where demand far exceeds supply.
“Government is well-aware of these issues, and we are looking into addressing them. We need to have short-term plans in place before the government sets up long-term plans which can deal with the current crises. We need to have measures which speed up the delivery of serviced, and at affordable prices”, Alweendo noted.
In addition, the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG), which was a three-year government programme meant to address the unemployment issue in the country, created 83 000 jobs in total, with 67 000 being temporary jobs whilst 16 000 were permanent jobs.
“Without that project, we might not have created the current infrastructure as well as created the jobs which were created,” Alweendo added.