Women the backbone of NAM economy: Shitaleni

20 Dec 2013 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 DEC (NAMPA) – Swapo Party Member of Parliament (MP), Germina Shitaleni on Thursday congratulated Namibian women for “being the backbone of the country's economy”.
Shitaleni, who is also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information and Communication Technology, offered the congratulatory message in the National Council (NC) as she reported back on the parliamentary committee's recent visit to the //Karas, Hardap, Erongo and Oshikoto regions from 04 to 30 August 2013.
The members of the committee visited the regions to familiarise themselves with the operations of several government-funded projects, and to assess the impact of those projects on the beneficiaries and other people in surrounding communities.
The visit was also undertaken to inspect Early Childhood Development Centres and to check on the operations of projects that are reflected in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the 2013/14 financial year.
“Throughout our visit, we observed that the majority of the income-generating projects that we went to were operated or managed by women,” she said, to much applause from fellow MPs.
She said members of the parliamentary committee were very much impressed with the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that they visited in all the regions.
Shitaleni described the four projects visited as top-class and well-organised, saying the SMEs there have the potential to compete with bigger establishments in Namibia.
“The success of these projects was no surprise to me because they are all owned by women, and these women are the backbone of our economy,” she stressed.
The chairperson of the parliamentary committee however raised some concern about the lack of start-up capital and the limited financial resources available for SMEs countrywide.
She said this has a negative effect on the growth of SMEs in Namibia.
Shitaleni further expressed concern about some locally-produced items and goods that are not properly marked as such to indicate clearly that these products were made in Namibia.
“We visited a project in the Erongo Region where they’re producing high quality children garments which are exported to South Africa to be tagged with a ‘Made in South Africa’ label before they are imported back into Namibia and sold to the local market,” she lamented.
She added: “The Namibian Government spends millions of dollars on erecting infrastructure in various regions and this infrastructure is supposed to be utilised for the benefit of the local communities, but some of the infrastructure has become white elephants. This is because they are under-utilised or used for the wrong reasons.”
She said the members of the parliamentary committee also visited the Onandjokwe Market Stalls in the Oshikoto Region where they witnessed stalls being converted by the local community into bedrooms and ablution facilities to cater for the community members who are visiting their relatives at the Onandjokwe State Hospital, which is situated adjacent to the stalls.
“This facility is a modern structure that was constructed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, but it is going to waste because it is not being used for the originally intended purpose which was to provide trading facilities for the targeted beneficiaries,” she explained.