By: Annakleta Haikera
Chairperson of the Kavango East Business Community Geraldoh Illlarius says there’s a lot of potential and money for people from the two Kavango regions if given a chance to do local business, but that locals are excluded from business in the regions.
About 70 per cent of Namibia’s population is said to rely on biodiversity for their livelihood directly. Studies have shown that Namibia benefits about N$13 billion in revenue from biodiversity.
The majority of the country’s green schemes are based in the two Kavango regions.
“We can talk the whole day, the whole month, but if people don’t stand up, the Kavango will only be known as a food basket region with zero performance. Our people, men and women, are able to work hard if given those resources that are offered by the regional council, and they should not hold anyone accountable when asked what’s happening to the resources given to them,” said Illlarius.
He said this during consultations with finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi, who was engaging stakeholders on the national budget processes to promote participatory budgeting for the 2022/23 midterm budget review.
Businessmen and women in the Kavango East and West on Thursday, 4 August, were accorded a platform to air their views and contributions on issues they want to be addressed by the government.
“Many projects are given to outsiders, and they are abandoned, and no one is questioned or asked what happened to the money that was given to the project. The business community is ready as long as finances are available,” Illlarius told The Villager.
“The national budget is the most important and crucial tool in the country’s developmental agenda as it sets the tone and provides a clear indication of how the country’s limited resources will be allocated.”
He argued that it is of paramount importance that the decisions on how resources are allocated and spent be influenced by the country’s citizens, including the business community.
“As the Kavango East is a food basket, the business communities are able to provide food if they are given a chance to do so, and tenders should be given to the locals, not outsiders.”
He further said local businesspeople of the two Kavango regions could execute projects once they are given to the local business community.
“I also feel we are not included in projects that are intended to benefit us because most tenders are not given to those that are already in these types of businesses. Locals are not included. If there’s a procurement policy coming, it should benefit the locals and women, then we will have no problem producing food for the whole of Namibia.”
Meanwhile, Shiimi told the Kavango East business community that Namibia is faced with financial challenges. According to the finance minister, more than 7 billion in revenue was lost due to Covid-19 in 2019-2020. He also said Namibia’s situation is something that every country in the world has seen.
“The economic challenges of Namibia are unbalanced, and it’s not a normal situation that the country is faced with. Not even our forefathers have seen the challenge we are faced with for the past three years, and it’s very difficult to manage the little finances we are left with in this crucial time.”