Namibians want truth on economy from Geingob’s SONA

16 Apr 2019 15:50pm
By Edward Mumbuu Jnr
WINDHOEK, 16 APR (NAMPA) – President Hage Geingob on Wednesday is expected to deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) since his inauguration as Namibia’s third Head of State on 21 March 2015.
During the preceding SONAs, Geingob usually laid out his plans for the year while simultaneously accounting for the progress his administration has made in the furtherance of Namibia’s development agenda, fighting corruption and his efforts to improve governance.
Nampa on Tuesday spoke to several Namibians to gauge their perspectives and expectations on Geingob’s address.
Human rights practitioner Phil ya Nangoloh expects “nothing but the truth” on the current state of affairs in Namibia, especially as far as the economy is concerned.
“He must report accurately about the state of the Namibian economy,” Ya Nangoloh said.
The social justice activist further noted with concern the current situation whereby massive State contracts and tenders are awarded to foreign nationals “at the expense of deserving Namibians”.
“These mega projects are given to Chinese who do not even bank in Namibia. So the money flies out of the country. The Chinese are also in the retail sector and they ship money out of the country,” he lamented.
According to Ya Nangoloh, this situation where there is little money in circulation, millions of Namibian dollars shipped out and resources exported in their raw format, cannot continue unabated.
“Geingob must report truthfully. He must also tell us what he’s going to do about it,” he reiterated.
For Ndumba Kamwanyah, a political analyst and senior lecturer at the University of Namibia, the accountability component must come out strongly in the SONA.
The president declared 2019 ‘The Year of Accountability’.
“I will hope that accountability comes out strongly. What is the state of the Harambee Prosperity Plan? We have not heard about Harambee in a long time. The issue of the economy must also come out,” he said.
Kamwanyah continued: “We don’t see a clear direction out of this economic mess. How will we create jobs? Graduates are graduating but they are on the street. So, we will expect the president to give us direction.”
Epaphras Sheya Ngolo, a student representative at the International University of Management made some submissions for the president’s consideration.
Sheya Ngolo wants internship programmes to be made compulsory at all government agencies, offices and ministries to absorb students seeking to obtain the much-needed work experience.
The youth leader on another note asked: “In 2015, the president said all NSFAF (Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund) study loans should be converted into grants, however, those students that came after 2016 still have loans. Was it a political statement or when will the loans become grants?”