A different approach needed to address economic crisis: Schlettwein

11 Feb 2018 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 11 FEB (NAMPA) – Namibia should look into diversifying its business and taking a different approach if it is to recover from the current economic crisis, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has said.
The minister made these comments during a panel discussion on the economic outlook for 2018 by Standard Bank here on Friday.
“What we have to discuss is what we are going to do different. We have to move away from the status quo to enhance growth,” Schlettwein said, adding that in order to achieve economic growth, social issues that affect the ordinary Namibian cannot be ignored.
He said addressing inequality – which he labelled “the mother of all problems” – is paramount.
To stress his point he said: “Only 5 per cent of the population has access to legal representation in the private sector… 95 per cent don’t. Only 14 per cent have access to private medical aid cover, 86 per cent do not. Those are two frightening examples which speak to nothing else but inequality.”
Sharing his sentiments was Ohlthaver & List Group chairperson Sven Thieme who said, “Namibians are our greatest asset”.
“We all together have to take it a lot more serious that our people are the biggest asset. And if we come to understand that, the rest will be easy to overcome,” he said.
On Namibia’s economic prospects, he said the private and public sectors should join forces if the economic crisis is to be addressed.
Thieme was however optimistic that Namibia will recover.
He also said the current economic climate is “no excuse for businesses not to perform”.
Some of the challenges Namibia faces is hunger and abject poverty, but Thieme believes Namibians can feed themselves.
“It’s absolutely possible to feed ourselves,” he said.
Thieme said Namibians limit themselves to only four sectors - mining, tourism, agriculture and fishing.
“We could become the engineering hub of southern Africa,” he mused.