In the midst of an economic crisis that has seen the government unable to meet all its financial obligations and unfavourable climatic conditions, Swapo Parliamentarian Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has posited that Namibia is an angry country.
This anger, according to Iivula-Ithana, is evidenced in persistent and prolonged droughts, human and wildlife conflicts and a people filled with fury.
The politician made these remarks in the National Assembly on Wednesday, when giving her input on the N$66.6 billion national budget.
During the lengthy statement, she addressed three main issues and made proposals as to how they can be tackled.
She mainly focused on the drought that has rocked Namibia for the better part of the last decade, as well as the economic downturn.
“Everything in our country seem to be angry, from nature to human beings, from our wildlife to the weather. I rise to make my contribution to the budget debate taking place in a year and time when everything seems to be angry,” she said.
Iivula-Ithana sympathised with Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, saying he presented a fair budget in relation to the meagre resources at his disposal.
“We need to sit down and look at what can be done. What is doable under the circumstances. Because travelling elsewhere, I have realised that maybe we need to remodel and prioritise priorities,” she proposed.
It is also opportune for Government to remodel the modus operandi at regional level.
“Our regional governments have up to now not been capacitated to take charge of the regional resources and that is why possibly you find that in some regions, economic activities seem to have drifted into some unpalatable commodities,” she said.
The lawmaker did not shy away from Government’s policy choices, which she believes need a revisit in order to reap maximum benefits.
The former Home Affairs and Immigration minister also took issue with the government’s tax collection efforts.
“I don’t think the tax collection by the central government really gets everything owed to it,” she said.
Iivula-Ithana further suggested that a funding model be established to finance small and medium enterprises and the training of entrepreneurs.
On the agricultural front, she said, the importance of this sector could not be overemphasised.
“We keep saying agriculture is the backbone of our country, which is true. A country without the capacity to produce its own food is doomed.”
She proposed that the government reduce taxes charged on agricultural implements to lessen the financial burden on farmers. - Nampa