This week revelations show that Government is spending millions to pay expatriate in salaries for services rendered. The most affected sector is the health sector which is literally surviving through expatriate labour.
The Government is heavily reliant on Zambian, Cuban, South African, Kenyan and Zimbabwean doctors.
It is commendable that Government has come up with a plan to utilise resources in their sister countries to deal with the shortage of staff and skills in the medical fraternity but until when.
There is also other sections that are relying on expatriates and are tapping into the skills transfer that comes with it. Such sectors include the engineering sector, education and also the science development sector.
While we are doing pretty well in covering the skills gap through engagement of expatriate labour as a country we need to also come up with our own plan that educates our own people to take over.
We need to make sure that the plan to have expatriates helping us to deal with difficult tasks that we cannot tackle under the circumstances is short term.
We are surviving on borrowed time and are not finding ways of dealing with our own challenges.
One wonders where our own professionals are going after benefiting from Government funded educational sponsorships. In fact even this week Government sent 22 students to Zimbabwe to study in various fields including hotel and tourism. Others have been sent to go and train to be teachers, doctors, engineers statisticians and also scientist.
However the mind boggling question is where are our own professionals going after benefiting from Government?
How is it that we never get our own professionals coming back to develop the country?
Are we somewhat training our own specialist for other countries where they go and study and never come back to train?
While the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Andrew Ndishishi acknowledges that Government will continue to tap into expatriates, we should also urge Government to find ways of tapping into our own specialist.
Maybe what Government needs to do is to introduce a system where they keep funding Namibians to get educated in different spheres but then bond them to work for the public service for a certain period.
The bonding system will encourage our young people to be patriotic and also serve their own country. It would also make sure that once in a while Government will have created a channel for Namibians to serve their own system and also give them an opportunity to grow.
Perhaps the bonding system could also make sure that all junior Namibian staffers employed in different sectors with expatriates are given an opportunity to learn and take over the opportunities presented.
If we do not find ways of dealing with our skills challenges then possibilities are that our own priorities are misplaced. We need to put our priorities in the right places like developing skills. Being cry-babies and continue to weep about lack of capacity does not make sense.
One would have to admit that we do not have capacity right but what are we doing as a country to build our own capacities.