The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Saara Changes Tune On TIPEEG

FINANCE Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has made a U-turn with regard to the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) at the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) congress, stating that this programme does not have job creation as its first priority.

During her budget speech for the 2010/2011 financial year when TIPEEG was introduced, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said it was aimed specifically at addressing economic growth and the high unemployment rate through support to strategic growth sectors. TIPEEG was supposed to focus on four key sectors, namely agriculture, transport, tourism and housing and sanitation.

"It is envisaged that the implementation of TIPEEG will result in the preservation and creation of about 104 000 direct and indirect job opportunities," she had said at that stage.

During this year's budget speech the Finance Minister said "the priority must be to create productive jobs in the private sector and to progressively reorient TIPEEG towards supporting job creation in the long term".

President Hifikepunye Pohamba also referred to TIPEEG during his State of the Nation address in April this year, stating that the initiative for job creation has started.

He said although a number of bottlenecks were initially encountered, the implementation process had gained encouraging momentum. "According to the latest information, 26 960 jobs have been created under the development budget, inclusive of TIPEEG," Pohamba said

In the meantime, SPYL leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of implementing TIPEEG, saying that "its implementation is riddled in the seemingly bottomless pit of bureaucracy and greed."

During her presentation at the SPYL congress Kuugongelwa-Amadhila did not even mention TIPEEG. This prompted some of the delegates to ask her for clarity on this ambitious programme.

She said first and foremost TIPEEG was created to implement the programmes under NDP3, and then secondly for job creation.

"It is first for business and then for job creation."

According to some delegates they were surprised to hear that the emphasis is now placed on business and that job creation is now playing second fiddle.

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