Effective income redistribution is vital: Calle

11 May 2016 22:40pm
WINDHOEK, 11 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia has been making headway in simultaneously growing incomes and reducing income inequalities, but reducing these inequalities has generally been slow, the Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein says.
He was speaking on Wednesday during the last day of a three-day Government Leadership Seminar held under the theme ‘Closing the Gap of Inequality’ in the capital.
“Improved targeted policy to induce more Namibians into mainstream economic activity and more effective income redistribution will be important policy objectives in the medium to long-term,” he explained.
The minister further said Namibia’s growth trajectory and income levels disguise substantial structural challenges, and these challenges impede speedy progress to realise broad-based growth and shared prosperity for all.
“The higher per capita income for Namibia must be understood in the context of considerable income disparities across socio-economic groups,” Schlettwein noted.
Also speaking at the event, Economist and Professor at Columbia University in New York in the United States of America Joseph Stiglitz said the focus used to be on growth and the idea was that if an economy succeeded in growing it would succeed in solving all the other problems, everybody would share and that it was called trickle down economy.
“We now know that’s not true; you can have growth but it may not be inclusive and not everybody can share,” he said.
Stiglitz further said Namibia has been very successful in having growth and reducing poverty and even reducing inequality, but that inequality still remains high.
“When we talk about broader growth it is not just economic growth but sustainable, inclusive and democratic growth. One of the things I’m going to emphasise over and over again is that part of the new thinking about development is that only if growth is inclusive and only if growth entails share prosperity would it be sustainable,” he added.