Country Senior Partner of PWC Namibia, Nangula Uaandja-Photo Nampa.
Bank of Namibia Gorvernor, Johannes !Gawaxab-Photo Nampa.
Meatco, as one of the strategic commercial enterprise entities, participated at the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Annual General Meeting held under the theme ‘Re-booting Namibian Economy during Covid-19 Pandemic’.
The AGM focused on four key areas, namely: need to review policies that hinder economic growth; need for trade unions to work closely with sector; need to activate entrepreneurship; and 4. need for diversification and always put Namibia first.
The AGM highlighted the importance of agro-processing during these pandemic times, as Namibia needs to make sure that Namibians produce and consume their own food. Namibia, as a country, is under threat because there is over-reliance on South Africa for very basic necessities.
It is time the agricultural sector is boosted to save the Namibian economy and make it vibrant again, especially during the Covid-19 times, the meeting resolved.
Speaking at the event, Nangula Uaandja, the country senior partner at PwC Namibia, gave a thought-provoking presentation on refocusing impactful drivers to enhance sustainable economic growth.
She noted that Namibia is the second of African countries that have the highest inequality, behind the most industrialised South Africa.
“Apartheid can be blamed for the inequality that exists in Namibia, but the nation must take responsibility for its failures and shortcomings,” she said.
Uaandja further pointed out that on average, only 70-80% of Namibians have Grade 12, which influences their earnings, as they do not have qualifications that enable them to earn a decent income.
There is an urgent need to invest in revenue-generating activities, she said, adding that human capacity development is very crucial in boosting manufacturing output that Namibia has so much potential in. Hence, specialisation and diversification of skills are very crucial to boost growth, she said.
Spending on education is crucial but spending on the right education is more crucial to ensure that the workforce has the skills and knowledge to boost output and respond to industry needs, she added.
Also speaking at the annual general meeting was the central bank governor, Johannes !Gawaxab, who gave a presentation titled “Namibia’s economic prospects, responsive investment, sustainable and inclusive post-Covid-19 recovery reforms”.
!Gawaxab noted that the global crisis has spared no continent, country or nation. The trade, tourism and travel sectors have collapsed, causing demand, supply and financial shocks.
“We are now faced with twin challenges, containing the pandemic including a possible second wave and coping with adverse spill overs,” he said.
!Gawaxab, however, pointed out that the Namibia economy is expected to return to positive growth next year by 2.1% because the economy is expected to open up fully, with activities in the mining and agricultural sectors picking up.
The Bank of Namibia governor said public policy support remains critical, particularly to vulnerable households and viable businesses, and reorientation of spending is essential.
!Gawaxab sees the need to exploit opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) presents, and deepen financial markets to ensure greater credit availability and, most importantly, ensure preferential treatment of Namibian entities in local procurement to save jobs and boost economic growth.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only disrupted economic activities, but also created opportunities to do things better in information technology (IT) Infrastructure, domestic tourism, clean energy and agro-processing, he said.
“Namibia experienced a surge in the use of IT services following the outbreak. We can invest more in IT infrastructure and increase efficiency. We must add value to what we have by investing more in agro-processing,” !Gawaxab pointed out.
Once Namibia secures investments in utilities, the country can increase agricultural production and the processing of agricultural products.
With inflation and interest rates at their lowest levels in more than 40 years, this is an opportune time to invest in infrastructure to drive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, he added.
-Additional reporting by Namibian Sun