“The questions are premature at this time, the annual review of the plan (HPP) is only due after the end of the financial year 2016/17,”
“We conducted a similar mid-term review exercise in December as you know and we will do so again with the annual review once ready and as indicated in the HPP monitoring timelines,” said Aochamub in response to questions from The Patriot.
In the same breathe, another issue of concern is whether the government will set aside funds in the 2017/18 National Budget to cater specifically for the projects outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
To this, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein told The Patriot that “no” budget will solely be aimed at implementing the Harambee Prosperity Plan “because it is a cross-sectoral kind of approach”.
“There is no budget line for the Harambee plan (HPP), the Harambee plan is an implementation strategy and it gives us targets.
“We are trying with the allocations (budget), of course, to make it possible that we meet these targets, they are considered as priority projects in the budget split,” noted Schlettwein.
However, he said the “Harambee Prosperity Plan remains the top priority for funding, because it is along those targets that we plan to transform the economy.”
However, Schlettwein acknowledged that the implementation of HPP runs concurrently with the “state of the economy”.
“The speed with which we would achieve that (Harambee targets) is, of course, determined by what is available and by what the public financial system can sustainably make available,” added Schlettwein.
According to Schlettwein, a slowdown in the economy will translate into a “slowdown” in the implementation rate of the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“If there is a situation whereby the economy is slowing down, then our ability to implement (HPP) will be hampered,” Schlettwein further noted, adding, “Whatever the economic situation is, those transformation issues must be the priority and should be funded were possible.”
When the Namibian government came up with HPP a year ago under the leadership of President Hage Geingob, in his quest to accelerate development and to completely eradicate poverty, the architects of the plan did not envisage the current economic slowdown.
Furthermore, among the many burning questions on the lips of those in the public domain is whether the current administration will re-align the Harambee Prosperity Plan or put it on hold until the Namibia’s fiscal condition improves.
The implementation of HPP has come under heavy questioning due to economic hardships, which have seen government put on hold an array of capital projects due to shortage of funds.
As a consequence, Namibians from all walks of life have been left to question whether the targets of HPP can be realised under the current economic climate.
Some of the targets in the HPP profile during the four-year Harambee period include plans to construct 20 000 new houses countrywide; service 26 000 new residential plots countrywide; construct 50 000 rural toilets and to eliminate the bucket system by the end of the current year.
Similarly, HPP plans to create at least 8 000 jobs in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, it further aims to attract at least 10 new investment projects through investment promotion creating a minimum of 1 000 jobs.
With respect to water security, HPP aims to increase access to water for human consumption [that is safe potable water] from 50% to 100% of the population by 2020; ensure that there are sufficient water reserves for industrialisation and land servicing and housing development purposes.
To achieve all these projects, funds are required and judging by the existing prevailing economic situation, only time can tell whether they will come to fruition.
HPP mid-term review 2016
At last year’s HPP mid-term review Geingob attributed the country’s fast decaying economy to a decrease in demand for commodities and severe perennial droughts that have severely affected development objectives and plans.
At the time, Geingob pointed out that the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) stated that poverty levels were declining at a “faster” rate than what they had projected, which was all in line with HPP – which in its crudest form aimed at eradicating poverty.
At the occasion, Geingob heaped praise on how Namibians had taken ownership of the plan.
“Locally, Namibians from all works of life are rallying behind the Harambee Prosperity Plan, in the spirit of one Namibia, one Nation,” Geingob was quoted saying.
Moreover, Geingob said the Namibian government was committed to effective and transparent governance which is also part of the five main pillars under the HPP.
The Harambee Prosperity Plan consists of five pillars, namely: effective governance, economic advancement, social progression, infrastructure development and international relations and cooperation.