21 Aug 2016 12:00pm
KATIMA MULILO, 21 AUG (NAMPA) The National Planning Commission on Friday held its regional consultations on preparations for the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) in the Zambezi Region.
Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and the National Planning Commission (NPC), Lucia Iipumbu, met with local and regional councillors, development committees and representatives of churched and traditional authorities to discuss plans on how to formulate NDP5, which will be in effect from 01 April 2017.
Iipumbu said with the current NDP4 coming to an end in less than seven months, it is imperative to start consulting all key players to ensure the smooth implementation of NDP5 and set its agendas, which will address critical development issues for the communities and region.
The importance of planning cannot be over-emphasised. Planning plays a vital role in the process of socioeconomic development. It will help our country to synchronise its problems and its needs in order to utilise the available resources more effectively to achieve desired objectives within the specified time frame, she said.
Iipumbu used the platform to highlight some successes of NDP4, in which Government set three main overarching objectives - high and sustainable economic growth, employment creation and improving on inequality.
She said Namibia met 43 per cent of its horticultural requirements for the 2014/15 season, noting that this is a result of the huge investment in green scheme programmes, of which the Kalimbeza Rice Project was one such activity.
In the tourism sector, Government embraced the concept of community-based management of resources, despite wildlife conflict.
In transport and logistics, Government invested in direct budgets for parastatals to own loan books, collect levies and finance oil storage.
I am mentioning all these because they benefit the country, including this region which connects Namibia to four neighbouring countries and hosts the important corridor to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iipumbu said.
United Nations (UN) representative, Celia Stephanus said Namibia has made tremendous advancement in various sectors of development.
Stephanus noted that Namibia currently ranks fifth in Africa in terms of gender parity in Parliament and in media freedom.
She added that 90 per cent of Namibian children are enrolled in schools, and that the country has registered a 50 per cent reduction in HIV infections.
A point of distinction is the fact that Namibia has noted one of the fastest reductions in poverty on the continent, said Stephanus.
However, the country is still challenged as 27 per cent of its population is still affected by poverty, youth unemployment that stands at 39 per cent, and the fact that 40 per cent of people are still suffering from food insecurity due to the drought.
Consultations such as this one, to review progress and gaps, allow for critical thinking on how best to develop a strategy for achieving Vision 2030. The UN is well placed to share knowledge, disseminate global best practices and help find solutions to national development challenges, she said.