…5% access private legal service, 14% private medical aid
By Hilary Mare
THE prohibitively high cost of products and services offering in the financial services sector constrain progress on reducing inequalities in the Namibian society, Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein has said.
Bemoaning the high costs particularly in the insurance products, the Minister highlighted that these have created a highly concentrated and lucrative enclave, alongside a sea of under-coverage.
“As such, private legal services are only accessible to about five percent of the population, while only an estimated 14 percent of the population enjoy private medical aid. Affordability has, therefore, remained a binding constraint to broad-based access to financial products and services for the low-income pyramid and thus a binding constraint to rapid poverty eradication and the erosion of inequalities,” he said.
He further stated that government is determined to redress this situation in its quest to provide for national objectives.
“As government, we recognize the need for effective public-private dialogue and partnerships, not only to create a conducive environment for business to operate and flourish, but to additionally ensure that the resultant outcomes serve both your targets of being profitable and viable and the national objectives of job and wealth creation and that such wealth is equitably distributed,” he added.
He further stated that financial stability and soundness are key hallmarks of our financial sector and compare favourably with the rest of the World adding that to these two pillars shall be added the inclusiveness dimension, which is key for financial stability and wealth creation.
“The 2017 Global Competitiveness Report ranks financial market development in Namibia at 50th position and the quality of infrastructure at 67th position out of 182 economies assessed globally. This is an enviable competitiveness position from the global perspective and in the context of national competitiveness rating which is now standing at the 90th position globally.
“The key developmental aspirations for Namibia are to realize high inclusive growth, eradication of poverty, creation of decent jobs and erosion of inequalities. We have been able to bring about gradual reduction in poverty and inequalities through growth and targeted policies.
“The recently released Inclusive Development Index by the World Economic Forum places Namibia as the 5th most inclusive economies in the African region and 56th among Emerging Economies. In our pursuit of sustainable development, inclusivity is a key pillar as espoused in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Vision 2030 and the successive National Development Plans,” he explained.
The last FinScope Surveys carried out for Namibia by the Finmark Trust indicates that general access to financial products and services has improved over the years, with financial inclusion having expanded from 49 percent in 2007 to about 69 percent by 2011. However insurance coverage remains limited with only a relatively low percent of the population having access to some form of insurance.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015