With government’s cash-flow problems highly precarious and deficit funding options running out, experts have cautioned that another cash-flow crisis in late 2018 or 2019 is highly possible.
“Any revenue surprises will put the fiscus in a tail-spin due to limited fiscal buffers,” economic authors Rowland Brown and Cheryl Emvula have warned.
Both have raised the red card on the falling Sacu revenue which they have said will likely underwhelm in the coming year.
Namibia has been a major benefactor of the Sacu Revenue and speaking at a Sacu roadshow panel discussion recently, University of Namibia based professor and economist Roman Grynberg said the country has been able to build its schools and universities from these.
Experts from South Africa are also convinced that the Sacu exposure is a sword dangling over the head of Namibia which will fall the day SA says, “But why should we continue giving out billions,” said one Russell Lamberti.
Yet it is not all gloom and doom as “Improved expenditure priorities and effectiveness could still be achieved. There are signs that expenditure is now slowly being better aligned to national priorities, and that the same amount of money is being spent somewhat more efficiently,” Brown and Emvula have said.
Both have said there are various opportunities to increase the effectiveness of expenditure especially when it comes to access to housing, quality education and other basic education.
Although the minister gave a huge allocation to education, Calle Schlettwein recently pointed out that a poor teaching staff continue to shoot government in the foot.
Giving a real example, he said the fact that there have been schools in the same region using the same curriculum but have showed a contrast in the pass rate points to a teaching staff sleeping o its job.
“This shows that the problem is not the curriculum, but it is the teachers,” he said.
But the experts are convinced that the only way out of the mess is if, “Namibia moves away from the obsessive focus on coverage as a metric for measuring educational success and focus on quality.”
“With the 7th highest level of youth unemployment in the world, and few jobs being created in both public and private sector, the quality of local education must come under scrutiny, not just as an issue around economic opportunity, but also as a key reason behind the perpetuation of inequality in the country,” Brown and Emvula have advised.
For Unam student and motivational speaker, Teopolina Shingenge, the change from a theory to a practical based approach to learning which adds quality to education has not really gathered much dust.
“Instead of Unam allowing or taking us into the industry and meeting other entrepreneurs and getting experience from them, they do not do that. All they ask us to do is to interview these people, give a presentation in class and get marks. That’s it,” she says.
She also says that it his high time vocational education was put into the mainstream, “But there are trust issues between us and those that employ because of the education we are getting.”