22 March 2016

Namibia: Geingob Denounces Critics

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob yesterday condemned critics who suggest that no progress has been made since independence, and that government spending priorities are not right.

He said this when addressing the 26th independence celebrations at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.

Highlighting facts which, according to him, show that Namibia has developed drastically since independence, Geingob said in 1990, the country's Gross Domestic Product was measured at the market price of N$5,5 billion and the per capita GDP was only N$2 000 then.

However, he said, the income has risen to N$141 billion and the per capita income had increased to N$63 000 by 2014.

According to the President, the manufacturing sector was worth N$290 million back in 1990, but to date has increased to N$15 billion.

Additionally, Geingob noted that the budget tabled in 1990 was N$2 billion, and the development budget only N$254 million.

"In this fiscal year, the capital budget alone is worth N$9 billion and we will spend on student funding through the Namibia Students' Financial Assistance Fund (some) N$1,2 billion. The education and health sectors continue to receive the bulk of state resources. If this does not indicate our intent to earmark these sectors as priority sectors, then we don't know what priority is," he stressed.

Geingob further reprimanded those who questioned the spending on armed forces, saying that he had visited these headquarters, and found that they are exceptional.

"I am hugely impressed. Our troops not only safeguard our peace and security, but also contribute towards peacekeeping on the African continent. In other nations, the armed forces are lauded and looked upon with immense pride, but some people here in Namibia think differently," said Geingob, who is the commander-in-chief of the defence forces.

The President said it pains him to see the conditions in which so many of Namibia's uniformed men and women live, and that resources will be increased to see to it that they are provided with decent accommodation befitting their sacrifices and services.

He added that this includes nurses, doctors and other professionals who selflessly serve Namibia.

The Namibian last week, in conjunction with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Institute for Public Policy Research as well as the Embassy of Finland analysed Geingob's first year in office in Windhoek.

The event, which was streamed live on The Namibian website, concluded that much more still needed to be done in certain aspects such as combating youth unemployment, dealing with the quality of education, cutting expenditure in non-priority areas such as the construction of a new parliament building estimated to cost N$2 billion, or the N$7 billion Hosea Kutako International airport upgrade.

Young members of the public, who made up a larger part of the audience at the celebrations, critically noted the need for the President to cut down on his huge number of advisers and executive, which has increased the amount of money spent on their salaries.


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