Windhoek - Namibia is rolling out a post-coronavirus recovery plan and job creation strategy to offset the impact of anticipated economic contraction of 7,9 percent in 2020.
The plan falls broadly within the ambit of phase two of President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
A large component of HPP will be the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, which will be finalised this year through a consultative process. Focus will be on tapping into new sources of growth, inclusiveness, economic diversification and value chains, among other pivots.
“The modes of financing the priority developmental commitments would benefit from leveraging private capital through public, private partnerships, various forms of leveraging state assets and improving the national investment climate,” Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said in the Mid-Term Budget Review in Parliament this week.
Government is also targeting investment in productive infrastructure, decongesting public procurement processes, implementation of the R4 billion (US$245 million) Africa Development Bank-funded projects for agricultural mechanisation, completion of large capital projects in the road sector, and a schools renovation programme.
In addition, support will be provided for investment in energy generation and transmission capacity by Nampower, and the scaling up of investment in the water sector.
President Geingob’s administration will also scale up support for SMEs and youth entrepreneurship, which are critical for job and wealth creation. This will be done through increased access to affordable finance for youth entrepreneurs and start-ups.
An additional R500 million (US$30,5 million) funding for SMEs will be rolled out in November 2020, financed by the Bank of Namibia through commercial banks and backed with a government guarantee.
Key reforms entail implementing a post-pandemic growth-friendly fiscal consolidation programme aimed at reducing growth in public debt. There will also be unwinding of once-off discretionary spending related to COVID-19 without hindering health sector capacitation; and a review of the public sector wage bill and assessing options for early voluntary retirement, in combination with a recruitment freeze amongst other measures.
A key factor in all aspects for the Finance Ministry is non-tax resource mobilisation for financing the programmes, and promoting administrative efficiency.
Minister Shiimi went on: “The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) is envisaged to be launched next year, upon finalisation of the key transitional processes, enhancing tax compliance and protecting the tax base from base erosion and leveraging international tax cooperation to boost national tax administration capacity.”