WINDHOEK, 14 DEC (NAMPA) -
The Office of the President is at an advanced stage in preparation of accelerating the implementation of a plan called 'Harambee Towards Prosperity for All', aimed at significantly reducing poverty levels in the country. The plan will span the period 2016/17 to 2020/21 and will come into effect on 01 April 2016.
Addressing a media conference at State House on Monday through which he reflected on pertinent pronouncements made during the course of the year, President Hage Geingob explained that the plan is also aimed at reducing inequalities and uplifting the living standards of all Namibians.
He made it clear that the plan will not replace the National Development Plan Four (NDP4), but rather complement it and other development plans.
He noted that 'Harambee Towards Prosperity for All' will be built on four pillars and under each of the pillars, three to five critical success factors will be addressed, adding that currently a total of 16 critical success factors have been identified and proposed.
The four pillars, Geingob said include: social development, effective governance and service delivery, economic development and infrastructure development. The Head of State noted that under the social development pillar, issues such as arresting hunger poverty; accelerating the service of urban land and delivery of affordable houses; addressing the poor sanitation situation in the country; reducing infant and maternal mortality; and expediting the development of vocational skills will be addressed.
"One of the key reasons for hunger in Namibia is the increased frequency of natural shock such as drought. Therefore, immediate lifesaving assistance such as food distribution and water provision to affected households will continue. We will also strengthen the delivery of government subsidized farm implements to fight rural hunger," he said.
To arrest urban hunger, he said, the establishment of food banks will be rolled out countrywide with the first food bank to be commissioned in Windhoek by the middle of next year, adding that the Basic Income Grant (BIG) will be revised and linked to the activities of the food bank and other conditions may be attached to the BIG, thereby making it a conditional BIG.
"It will apply to those who are poor," he noted. The old-age-pension will be increased to N. dollars 1 200 per month by 2017 and to N. dollars 1 300.00 by 2018 to assist senior citizens in coping with the escalating living costs and payment for the provision of municipal amenities.
On the servicing of urban land and provision of affordable housing, Geingob stressed that Government will implement the massive urban land servicing (MULS) programme to cover all regions and resume the suspended mass housing programme with a new approach.
He said starting next year (2016), Government will introduce subsidies for land servicing towards deserving local authorities and will introduce the leveraging of Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) funding to develop housing complexes for cohorts of Government employees such as uniformed personnel, medical personnel and teachers amongst others.
With regard to the reduction of infant mortality, one of the key strategies will be to partner with friendly nations to provide medical experts in different areas while efforts to develop local skills through the medical school will continue.
Accompanied by the Vice-President, Nickey Iyambo, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and her Deputy, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, also Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Geingob reflected on his first year in presidency when he reflected on the year that was.
Members of the media also had the opportunity to ask the panel questions. Pertinent pronouncements made during the course of the year included, building a strong, unified and inclusive Namibian House; promoting transparency to manage conflict of interest and promoting accountability to ensure improved service delivery; declaring all-out war on poverty and inequality; regularly engaging with communities through town hall meetings; and streamlining cabinet decision making processes.