Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, a senior lecturer at the University of Namibia (Unam) said the country needs to set agricultural and industrial production goals and work towards their attainment.
He believes that the agricultural sector will be the most suitable platform for transformation to fight the adverse financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kakujaha-Matundu noted that the domestic economy needs an investor-friendly, reliable policy environment that attracts domestic and international investors not only into natural resource extraction but also into agriculture, manufacturing and the service industries.
He added that the government should go back to projects and programs that are already crafted and implement them, saying these should support agriculture through extension and marketing services.
Kakujaha-Matundu also stressed that support is needed in SMEs and industries with potential for growth and employment creation. “Stop cronyism and dishonest administration. Be patriotic and stop the looting,” said Kakujaha-Matundu.
He emphasised that post-COVID-19 recovery will be nothing but an empty phrase just as economic development has been an empty phrase for the past 30 years. According to him, there is no magic formula for post-COVID-19 and that the country just needs to do the things that needed to be done pre-COVID-19 and over the past 30 years.
He also noted that recovery will also not be an easy task due to corruption activities recently witnessed in the country for which there have still been no consequences.
Economic analysts have expressed their frustration with ongoing corruption, with one analyst – preferring anonymity – saying: “I am now fed up and demoralised. DBN, Fishcor, SME Bank, Namdia, ministries of justice, fisheries, works, agriculture, and the list of institutions created to steal and loot the nation’s resources continues. What country is that? What recovery are you talking about?”
Klaus Schade, another local economist, said Namibia needs to use its scarce financial resources to support domestic producers of goods and services as much as possible. He indicated that this is not confined to regular procurement of goods and services “and the ministry of finance directive in 2019 is a good example – but includes large public infrastructure projects as well that which should be allocated to established and competent Namibian companies.”
According to Schade, this will ensure that jobs are at least retained not only in the construction sector, but that additional jobs be created and taxpayers’ money continues to circulate in the domestic economy.
“Since external demand for our goods and services will remain subdued, we need to consider another stimulus package focusing on the provision of water and sanitation to informal settlements, proper education, health facilities as well as the provision of electricity and ICT services to these facilities,” Schade added.
He concluded that the stimulus package can in part be financed through the temporary reduction of salaries for senior and middle management in the public sector that enjoys job security. He also proposed a reduction in unproductive and non-essential expenditure and loans that can be repaid through leveraging state assets such as natural resources, state-owned enterprises and state-owned properties.