SME development can alleviate poverty: Schlettwein

05 Apr 2015 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 05 APR (NAMPA) – Finance minister Calle Schlettwein says small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should be developed and encouraged to become part of the economic development in the country.
This, he said, is one way to alleviate poverty in Namibia.
Schlettwein was speaking during the 2015 budget speech luncheon organised by Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Prime Focus, Simonis Storm Securities (SSS), and KPMG here on Thursday.
The minister tabled the 2015/2016 National Budget of N.dollars 67.08 billion under the theme “No Namibian must feel left out” in Parliament on Tuesday.
“This budget is standing on the foundation built previously. So, it is not a budget that will try to undo all the good things and achievements that we have been enjoying over the past years,” Schlettwein said.
He explained that the budget started on the foundation that has been trying to maintain micro-economic stability and a pro-poor approach, and address issues such as poverty while promoting education and training, and improve the development of SMEs in the country.
Schlettwein stressed that an element of poverty eradication that the budget put emphasis on is to support SMEs to develop and become part of the productive economic society of Namibia that links to the Industrialisation Policy and growth at home strategy.
He said the main poverty alleviation matter to embark upon is to become productive and enhance productive capacity to make SMEs meaningful links in the value chain, create large value share for economy and distribute wealth in most credible way.
Schlettwein said the country is trying to achieve its objects with the little resources it has to make greater impact in developing the country.
One significant improvement is the increase in the monthly grant for the elderly, he said, adding that it will contribute to the benefit of all beneficiaries, their extended families and bring them out of poverty.
The Old Age Pension has been increased to N.dollars 1 000 from N.dollars 600; the largest increase in the grant since Namibia’s independence in 1990.
Schlettwein added that the other way of alleviating poverty is to equip the nation with necessary skills through education as a strong tool to improve productivity.
The minister said this would be the reason for allocating the largest share (73.7 per cent) of the total national budget to the education sector in the country.
A total of N.dollars 11.32 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, while N.dollars 4 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation for 2015/2016 financial year.