Bank of Namibia warns against tough lockdown

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Windhoek - Bank of Namibia (BoN) Governor Mr Johannes !Gawaxab has cautioned against a tougher lockdown, saying such a move would be catastrophic for economic recovery.

Namibia’s economy shrunk by 7,5 percent in 2020 as the government imposed a lockdown in response to the first wave of COVID-19; and expectations are of recovery in the region of two percent this year.

Last week, Mr !Gawaxab said rather than another lockdown, the state should strengthen social safety nets, support industry and invest in vaccinations in addition to galvanising observance of health protocols.

He said hardening lockdowns would result in more job losses, particularly in the tourism and SMEs sectors.

The BoN Governor made the remarks as the central bank handed over health equipment worth about N$3 million (US$200,000) to the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Windhoek.

“Ours is a response to a nationwide call by the President, Dr Hage Geingob, for the private and public sector to come on board and support Governments’ efforts to fight the global pandemic. In this way, we are not only contributing towards the fight against the coronavirus but assisting to secure a sustainable future for our country. The bank as a socially conscious and responsible corporate citizen, deemed it imperative to get involved by making this donation,” he said

The donation by the central bank is destined for state hospitals in the Erongo, Zambezi, Karas, Kavango East and Hardap regions.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula reiterated the call for the public and private sectors to unite in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The donation speaks to the needs of our work, the protection of health workers and the provision of quality services to patients. Therefore, as the nation is battling with the second wave of the Corona outbreak, the Bank of Namibia’s donation is timely and as the Ministry of Health, we would like to assure the Bank that we will put the equipment to good use,” he said.

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