3 January 2018

Namibia: The 'Year of Reckoning' Has Arrived

THE promises of transparency, accountability and better service delivery made by President Hage Geingob will be put to the test in 2018.

While 2017 was a challenging and difficult year in many respects for Namibia, expectations are that 2018 will start to see the country emerge from its financial and economic troubles.

During his year-end media briefing in December, President Geingob proclaimed 2018 as the "year of reckoning" during which government will take stock and be accountable for its actions.

Geingob expressed concern at poor service delivery and corruption amongst public officials, as well as infighting and mismanagement at government entities, all of which caused government to lose money.

In his New Year's statement, Geingob said government would be more transparent and accountable in 2018 in order to improve service delivery to the people, especially those in the rural areas.

He said 2018's priorities would be land delivery and connecting more Namibians to basic services, such as water, sanitation and electricity.

"We will step up our efforts to find workable solutions to the long-standing issue of land accessibility and affordability," Geingob said.

The President also pledged to initiate infrastructure development projects, including airports, ports and rail developments and upgrades.

Geingob also cautioned that the economic headwinds faced in 2017 will continue blowing into 2018, but that government has introduced cost cutting measures to ensure "we live within our fiscal means".

He said the short-term pain of these measures will be cushioned by the long-term benefits that will emerge when the economy eventually recovers.

Geingob also encouraged the public to take part in the fights against poverty and corruption and to refrain from littering in order to make 2018 "a year of shared prosperity" and to keep the environment clean.

"Let each of us resolve to play our part, whether big or small in building our house. In so doing, we will make this a year of hope".

President Geingob said he was disturbed by the lack of urgency at public offices, citing persistent reports of government ministries, local authorities and parastatals being unresponsive to information requests, and urged all public officials to introduce measures to ensure that service delivery improves.

"As public officials we are not doing our people a favour by working in the public space, we are occupying positions of trust and we must act accordingly," Geingob said.

The leader of the official opposition, McHenry Venaani, called for total commitment from Geingob and his Cabinet to implement "the lofty promises" made every year to ensure inclusive development and prosperity for all Namibians.

"I further wish to call on government to lay the foundations for sound economic conditions in an effort to promote job creation, and thereby address poverty reduction," Venaani said.

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