Geingob sympathises with economic scourge victims
In his 29th Independence Day celebration speech, President Hage Geingob said he sympathised with those that have become victims of the ongoing economic scourge, and promised jobs.
The President said the fact that some citizens were bearing the heaviest brunt of the economic slowdown was not lost on government.
“We are aware that some of our workers have lost jobs and thus their incomes and are suffering and facing uncertainty. Yes, we are aware of that.”
“Let me assure you that you are not alone, we understand your dilemma, we empathize with your predicament and we are working around the clock to ensure that we restore economic growth and job creation,” he said.
In light of the ongoing drought which has “economically weakened most of our farmers, who have either lost large numbers of cattle or will not have a harvest this year”, he said government would come to the rescue.
So far, a total of N$572 million was approved by Cabinet as a drought fund.
The President also said within the limited budgetary means, government will continue to assist these farmers through the line Ministry.
He remarked that progress in fighting corruption by being transparent and accountable had been made, creating trust.
“Very few countries have been able to achieve poverty reduction rates like Namibia has achieved since Independence, so one can assume that with a new targeted approach towards combating poverty, we stand to make even more inroads than before,” he said.
In absolute terms, more than four hundred thousand Namibians were lifted out of poverty during the period from 1994-2010, said Geingob.
He said the introduction of targeted social safety nets, including old age and social grants for people living with disabilities; orphans and vulnerable children, played a significant role in reducing poverty levels in Namibia.
“We are cognisant that income inequality remains a problem in Namibia. This remnant of the Apartheid legacy is a lingering thorn in the flesh and a hindrance to our developmental efforts.”
"In this regard, government will continue to formulate a legal framework focused on reducing the income gap,” he said.
While Namibia is committed to upholding the principle of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution, which include the protection of private property, the President said his leadership still recognise the urgent need for land delivery as a means to reduce poverty in the country.
“The successful Second Land Conference of October 2018, was a pivotal moment in our nation’s history and a definitive step towards effectively addressing the land issue in our country, and thereby restoring the dignity of our people,” he said.
The President also said modern and well-maintained infrastructure is the cornerstone for economic growth and job creation.
Since independence, government has invested heavily in infrastructure development and maintenance, he said.
"This investment has led to significant strides in infrastructure development and today, Namibia boasts some of the most modern infrastructure networks on the continent,” he said.
He added that his leadership remains committed to continuing this progress in infrastructure development through various projects such as the improvement of road infrastructure networks, amongst these being:
The Rehabilitation and upgrading to dual carriageway of the Windhoek -Okahandja Road in the Khomas Region,
Upgrading to a dual carriageway of the Windhoek - Hosea Kutako Airport road in the Khomas Region and,
Upgrading to bitumen standard of the Swakopmund - Henties Bay - Kamanjab road in the Erongo and Kunene Regions.
In the meantime, he said the Namibia of today was a far cry from that of 1990.
The celebrations were marked by the high profile presence of the Kenyan head of state, Uhuru Kenyatta who arrived this week.