Windhoek Namibian Minister of Information and Communication Technology Dr. Peya Mushelenga has reaffirmed his support to the country’s Appropriation Bill B5 of 2020 (Budget).
In a statement, Mushelenga last week expressed his pleasure on the budget which was introduced by the country’s Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi a fortnight ago saying that it promotes macro-economic stability.
“I raise my humble contribution to the Appropriation Bill, No. 5 of 2020. The budget is aimed at preserving macro-economic stability, as revealed by the drive towards social safety nets, labour protection, promoting agricultural development and personal security,” said Mushelenga.
He said effective budgeting requires among others-good coordination between budget preparation, resource allocation and synergies between the partners of government.
Mushelenga said the idea is also supported by renowned academics-Ndakengerwa Gasana Aimable (Rwanda) and Mica Odhiambo Nyamita (Kenya)’s academic publication dubbed ‘The national budget system and its effectiveness of public financial management within ministries in Rwanda’.
“Further, the budget should be aligned to the national mission and strategies. In this respect, I commend the Minister, the Director-General of the National Planning Commission and their team for the preparations of the budget under a constrained environment, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Mushelenga.
“The team did not lose focus on national priorities, as embodied in the National Development Plan.
This is illustrated among others, the fact that economic and infrastructure development takes up the second share of the budget.”
He said providing for infrastructure development in the national budget fosters productivity and growth and reduces inequalities and can build a solid Namibian society.
“Renowned Latin American bankers, César Calderón and Luis Servén 2 contend in their publication titled, ‘There are good reasons why infrastructure development may have a disproportionate positive impact on the income and welfare of the poor… Conceptually, infrastructure helps poorer individuals and underdeveloped areas to get connected to core economic activities, thus allowing them access to additional productive opportunities. Infrastructure access can raise the value of the assets of the poor,” said Mushelenga.
He said road infrastructure can also boost local economic activities as it links various parts of rural communities and enhances the transportation of goods and services to those areas. He added that it further creates opportunity for public transport operations.
Mushelenga added, “The drive towards making Namibia a logistic hub should be applauded. This will create job opportunities and reduce unemployment. It is my prayer that consideration should be given to SMEs, as they largely cater for the Namibian youth. Accordingly, I support the allocation of a total amount N$ 14.2 billion for economic and infrastructure development projects.”
While Namibia and the world at large is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of innovation in stimulating economic growth cannot be under emphasised Mushelenga said.
He further reiterated that the pandemic brought to reality the cardinal importance of innovation.
“Innovation and research are central to the Ministry of Health in confronting the scourge of the virus. They are further central to communications to create awareness in our community. Innovation is central to devising and designing alternative economic activities and industries that are needed to sustain the economy during this intricate period,” he said.
“My thoughts are at the University of Namibia (UNAM)’s Multi-disciplinary Research Centre and Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST)’s Innovation and Design Lab as catalysts for innovation, science and technology. Accordingly, I support the allocation of N$ 900.2 million to my alma mater, UNAM and N$309.million to NUST in the current expenditure framework.”
He said the governance of higher learning institutions in Namibia should speak to their core business and research.
Mushelenga added, “I would therefore like to recommend to the Minister of Higher Education that the Acts governing these institutions be revisited to provide for appropriate requirements for membership to the Councils of the two institutions. Save for representatives of the Students Representative Council, it is my considered view that to give effect to the essence of innovation, science and research, Council members should be required to have a minimum qualification of Master degree plus four academic publications, of which two should be from peer reviewed journals.”
On another pivotal matter, he said he supports the allocation of N$ 17.5 million to bilateral diplomacy programmes and N$ 120.5 million to multilateral diplomacy programmes under the Vote of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. This he said will enable the Ministry to continue carrying out activities of the Joint Working Group between Namibia and Cuba, which yours truly had the honour to chair a few years back.