22 February 2013

Namibia: TIPEEG Is Our Panacea

THE National Planning Commission (NPC) wants the current slow implementation of the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) to be hastened.

In essence, Tom Alweendo the NPC Director General says more needs to be done to expedite the current slow pace at which TIPEEG is being implemented. Alweendo says the pace at which TIPEEG is being implemented will not create the mass employment for which it was initiated. TIPEEG is a monumental project that should not be allowed to fail, because our government is concerned about high unemployment especially among unskilled youths and initiated TIPEEG to create jobs for the people.

The main aim of TIPEEG whose implementation started in 2011/12 is to create jobs while supporting strategic high growth sectors such as agriculture, transport, housing and sanitation and public works. For example, in the agriculture sector some 26 000 direct and indirect jobs will be created over the medium term. The expected high-level outcomes of TIPEEG in agriculture will be an increase in the amount of land under irrigation, improved crop production and an increase in the number of cattle slaughtered at abattoirs, and secured water supply.

The full implementation of the port development programme in the transport sector alone could create 3000 direct jobs and about 14 000 indirect jobs. TIPEEG under housing and sanitation could create 31 000 direct and indirect job opportunities, while on the other hand it will result in 3980 new serviced plots, 4520 new low-cost houses and 13 000 pit latrines. From its first year of implementation in 2011/12 about N$5 billion was supposed to be spent on TIPEEG projects in the targeted growth sectors.

But only about N$1 billion was spent and as a direct consequence TIPEEG did not create the projected number of jobs in its first year of implementation. Many officials in government now say TIPEEG has fallen short of its intended targets and one of the challenges faced is the lack of capacity, such as inadequately skilled manpower. Notwithstanding these problems, the officials tasked with the implementation of TIPEEG should set their priorities right and do more with whatever they have.

The lack of skilled manpower should not be used as an excuse not to implement this project, which will produce more food and shelter for our people. The current income disparities will continue and there is the danger that if we do not act now the dependency ratio of the aged and the growing number of pensioners will burden future generations. They say where there's a will there's a way. TIPEEG should not be allowed to fail and its success will greatly depend on the timely implementation by all involved of all the programmes under TIPEEG.

It is also essential to ensure the speedy implementation of these projects even if they should be exempted from existing government procurement procedures. Speedy implementation should however not compromise the quality of implementation. Alweendo's observations deserve to be addressed as a matter of urgency for the sake of TIPEEG and for the sake of our youth who deserve a dignified life.

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