Venaani promises heaven on earth

15 March 2019 Author   NYASHA FRANCIS NYAUNGWA
Official opposition leader, McHenry Venaani, has promised Namibians a land of milk and honey once his party is elected into power in the National Assembly and Presidential elections slated for some time in November this year.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president said on Wednesday that Namibians from across the country had told him that they want a break from the current status quo in which cadre deployment, jobs for comrades and proximity to leading Harambee leaders determines whether you have a government job or not.
“Your proximity to the First Couple or anyone else should not determine whether you are good enough to serve or whether you are in line for this and that,” Venaani charged.
He told the Windhoek Observer that his party is confident of winning the next elections because all indications are that the ruling SWAPO Party is going to lose its two thirds majority in the National Assembly.
“Nowhere in the history of this country did members of society ask an opposition party to show its cabinet. People are tired of this government. We are very confident that this election is winnable, the youth have changed, they are no longer interested in wara wara politics; they want bread and butter issues.
“It is our sincere hope that voters will begin to move past so-called struggle politics and realise that our future does not reside with political dinosaurs.
“We are saying these elections are winnable and that is why we are already in the mode of an alternative government. All we are pleading for is the corporate world to support us because one thing that is very clear is that the two thirds majority is already gone, there is not even a debate about it.”
Venaani alleged that SWAPO, afraid of losing power to PDM, has resorted to violence.
“Already we are seeing the ruling party attacking us in villages. The other day, the councillor of Engela Constituency slapped a family member because they had given us a tree. It is clear that we are a political threat to them. We are very confident that if we play the game the way we are playing, it is a winnable game,” Venaani said.
He said once elected into power, his party will give tax breaks to SMEs so that they can grow the economy and create more jobs.
“If you give tax breaks, especially to SMEs, you would stimulate the economy. It does not make sense to give tax breaks to big companies while small companies are struggling. Where taxes have been lowered, you have a bigger output of the economy. By taxing people more - our taxation is the third highest in the world - you are taxing them into bankruptcy.”
He said his government’s employment creation policy will hinge on creating a business friendly environment that will ensure that SMEs benefit.
“That is why we are giving the Ministry of Youth, the power to run employment creation.
“We have N$350 million that was stolen from the SME bank. If we had loaned that money collateral free to bankable projects, we would have created how many companies in this country?”
The opposition leader also emphasized the importance of vocational training.  He said vocational training will be a key facet under his government.
“We want to make sure that more people can do things with their hands,” he said.
Venaani said his government will have only 15 Cabinet ministers and four deputies. He said by realigning all the current ministries, his government would save 17 percent of the current national budget.
“Our estimates run between 17 and 20 percent savings if we realign the ministries because realigning of ministries will mean less senior staff compliments, less office space, and less transportation costs.
Venaani said it is a shame that out of the 121 constituencies in the country, about 50 do not have clinics 29 years after independence.
“By just streamlining ministries, every month in the first 100 days, we will be able to provide 50 new containers that we will be able to refurbish into clinics. We are not saying we are going to build new clinics, its containers that are there, we are just going to refurbish them.
“According to our estimates, it will cost N$20,000 to buy and refurbish a container then you bring in a nurse to service that community, so 50 containers for N$20,000 will be within our means.
“We are not going to spend N$60 million on tea. If you spend N$60 million a year on tea, I would spend N$5 million on containers that I would put in every village.”
The PDM leader promised to review the Export Processing Zone regime so that only small companies benefit from the tax breaks.
“Not every foreign entity should fall under EPZ. EPZ is meant to protect companies that bring in a particular service into the country and you want to help that company to grow. But if the company has grown exponentially, does it need to remain under EPZ?
“You need to bring other companies into the EPZ zone. What we are doing now is that we are taxing SMEs more and we are protecting big businesses, so we need to create a business eco system that brings fairness and equity.
“We should help smaller companies with tax breaks and tax [big] companies more or let them come into a normal tax framework for us to be able to grow the economy.”
Venani appealed to the white voters, many of whom have become synonymous with voter apathy, to go to the polls come November.
“I want to urge all Namibian voters, especially white voters, to go out to the polls and make your case heard,” he said.  


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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