The President’s economic advisor, Dr. John Steytler, said there exists a difference between projects implemented under the Harambee Prosperity Plan and those under other national projects exists, although there might be “double counting in some instances”.
Speaking to this publication this week, Steytler said Harambee projects are those started from 1 April 2016 but it does not mean projects under Harambee is more superior to other projects.
“Under Harambee we quantify everything where as the NDP4 is more broader,” Steytler said.
Steytler said the Harambee is not a costly plan “because it is mainly focused on fine tuning the system through the strengthening of regulatory and enforcement systems.”
“During next year’s budget the cost of Harambee projects will be clearer, this year it was not the case because the budget was already allocated.
But if you remove some of the road and rail programmes you will notice that Harambee is not a costly exercise.
There are plans to do a full costing of Harambee however,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob has remained positive about Namibia’s economic situation despite the tough economic climate prevailing in the country, a situation made worse by a decrease in the global demand for the country’s commodities and severe perennial droughts that have severely affected development objectives and plans.
Speaking at a media conference on the mid-term performance of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), Geingob rubbished claims by some people that the say Namibia is broke.
“Contrary to the pessimist who predicted a downgrading in our international investment rating and continue to suggest that Namibia is broke, the Namibian house remains politically and economically stable,” he boasted. “Our social bonds continue to strengthen and the process of moulding the nation should never be disrupted by ethnic differences,” said Geingob. Moreover, to back his clams, Geingob said the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) recently predicted that poverty levels were declining at “faster” rate than what they had projected.
The President further highlighted the important role that Namibians from all backgrounds have played by supporting and taking ownership of HPP. “Locally, Namibians from all works of life have are rallying behind the Harambee Prosperity Plan, in the spirit of one Namibia, one Nation,” Geingob added. Geingob also heaped praise on what has been achieved during the short period of the HPP saying the international community have taken not of the country’s success story. “Internationally, people have taken note of the Namibia story and are in awe of what we have achieved in a relatively short period,” said Geingob.
Moreover, Geingob said the Namibian government was committed effective and transparent governance which is also part of the five main pillars under the HPP.
During the Harambee period, Namibia also retained its position as the country with the “freest” in Africa, Geingob added.
“We continue to promote transparency through annual declaration of assets and income by all our Ministers and one Minister (Calle Schlettwein) even shared his declaration publicly,” Geingob noted.Also in the spirit of transparency the Namibian government launched the National Anti-Corruption Strategy in an effort to enhance accountability and deepen public trust. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy accessible to the public via the website of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, other significant improvement in government operations include the Integrated Tax Management System by the Ministry of Finance which is aimed at streamlining tax administration; the payroll system that will assist government in its quest to eliminate ghost employees; online application for leave of absence by civil servants as well as online application for legal aid which will reduce the waiting period from seven to two days. Below is the statistics provided by the presidency regarding the implementation status of the Harambee Plan.
Under the first of five pillars under the HPP, Namibia managed to retain the number one spot of the country with freest press in Africa. Moreover, the country has been ranked fifth by Mo Ibrahim among the best governed states on the continent, an improvement from the sixth position that Namibia held last year. During the first phase of HPP, all Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Permanent Secretaries declared their asset and income, an indication that government was committed to transparency. Similarly, all Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Permanent Secretaries signed performance agreement.
The government was able to achieve a 42 per cent debt to Gross Domestic Product Ratio (GDP) against the 37 per cent target of the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The regional debt to GDP ratio seen as sustainable stands at 60 per cent according to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). During HPP’s first phase, Namibia was able to sign four Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a result of investment promotions.
The first phase of Harambee Prosperity Plan saw government train and deploy 1646 community health workers countrywide.
Government also purchased 60 ambulances, with built-in maternal and neo-natal functionality and 70 maternal beds which were distributed to various hospitals nationwide.
So far, there are 159 315 senior citizens that receive the old age pension grant and government has spent N$175million to pay them on a monthly basis. In the agriculture sector, 100 tractors will be distributed during the coming rainy season to provide communal farmers with ploughing services.
In the education sector, 24 937 people enrolled as vocational education trainees (VET) against the HPP target of 16 000. Also, 16 436 is the number of VET trainees receive support for the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).
Going further, 1100 people were certified during the first six month of Harambee period which is 900 short of the 2000 that is the annual target.
In addition, 3000 temporary under and unqualified teachers will be trained over the next six years. Currently, 916 temporary under and unqualified teachers are enrolled with the University of Namibia and are expected to graduate in 2017. At this point, 1080 is the number of teacher intake for the 2017 academic year.
In the housing sector, 1681 houses were constructed during the first eight months of Harambee period. Currently, 1500 houses are under construction and are expected to be completed before the year one of the Harambee period.
Also, 2240 plots have been serviced by Central Government so far and another 1624 are currently being serviced. Central government has transferred N$367.9million to local authorities to expedite land service delivery. Moreover, government has spent N$30million to improve sanitation in both //Karas and Hardap regions. On food security, government spent N$300million to purchase drought relieve assistance which benefited 600 000 Namibians.
In the Khomas region alone, 22 345 households receive monthly food parcels. In total, 94 536 individuals benefited from the Food Bank initiative.
To date, N$15million was spent between June and October 2016 to purchase food parcels for the food bank.
In the same vein, 320 000 school learners benefitted from school the school feeding programs at the cost of N$96million.
In the first year of the Harambee period 60 schools were electrified countrywide; six refurbished locomotives were purchased and 90 tankers purchased under the Harambee rail initiative. Furthermore, 106km bitumen roads are to be constructed during the first year of Harambee.
Also, 318 SMEs are partaking in Harambee road construction projects. The Harambee road projects are valued at N$2.1billion and have employed 6227.