WELCOME to 2017. Ahead is a stretch of many weeks of unexplored territory, with only dim outlines of what might lie ahead. For the first time in nearly two years of service, President Hage Geingob faces a stern Swapo congress challenge and with possible downgrades upon the economy it’s going to be an interesting year. But beyond that, the crystal ball is murky.
In the previous year, Confidente remembers the year as one in which the Namibian economic growth trajectory suffered several blows on different fronts that saw the Minister of Finance freeze tenders and launch a tax regime among other elements that were deemed pivotal for growth and fiscal consolidation.
Essentially true of the past year was that the economy was lucky to squeeze out much more than one percent growth and this year’s outlook is scarcely much better. Weak commodity prices and a sluggish world economy are all contributors to slow growth but even so, we have to realise that many of the barriers to faster economic growth remain within the Government’s gift to change.
The notable and scary circumstances in which the outlook for Namibia’s rating which was revised by both Standards and Poor, and Fitch, from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ should serve as a warning to the country that it needs to get its act together to restore investor confidence in 2017. It should also serve as a reminder that the tide has changed and that more needs to be done to facilitate reforms that foster change in the nation quest to achieve some of its set objectives under the Harambee Prosperity Plan as well as the Vision 2030 not excluding the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).
We have to realise that it has become more essential that ever that responsible authorities finalise their policy positions and that job creation be uppermost in their minds and resist the temptation to substitute sound policies with corruption and ignorant governance. The least the Government can do is to provide hope that it has seen the error of its ways by making an inspired choice in leadership. Conclusively, there are a number of elements to look forward to that this publication will keep a keen eye on.
These range from how the economy will be affected by political activities leading up to the all-important Swapo congress, the succession agenda in neighbouring South Africa where Namibia imports the majority of its goods, as well as the key reforms that will be implemented by the finance minister in line with the 2017 budget and motion to consolidate the fiscus.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015