NDPs: A cocktail of ideas and no delivery

Revelations by Minister in the Presidency in charge of Economic Planning, Tom Alweendo that Government is mooting National Development Plan 5, coming before completion of NDP4 and the eventual introduction of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) are an indication that Government is still not learning the art of completing one task before introducing another one.
Presumably, the launch of the NDP5 would have been more appropriate at a time when Government took time to deliberate and audit the shortcomings that affected them during the implementation phase of NDP4, but alas we will have another thick document once again filled with brilliant ideas and very little implementation.

The NDP4 was pinned on three key pillars including achieving high and sustained economic growth, increased income equality and boosting employment creation.
The NDP4 also targeted four sectors namely transport and logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture as the key drivers of the economy and employment creation.

Ironically before the NDP4 implementation timeline lapses in July unemployment is still an axis of evil among Namibian societies, tourism is still to create the much needed jobs and is still a hive of a few affluent locals and many foreigners, the transport and logistics sector is there but not really where it is supposed to be and the country imports a heavy load of what it consumes which only means the manufacturing industry is still struggling.

With such a backdrop, instead of Government making a thorough audit on the short comings made on all the NDPs and try to synchronise their plans with the recently launched Harambee Prosperity Plan, Prime Focus Magazine understands consultations are underway for the crafting of another economic blue print. One wonders whether there is a definite look by those responsible to make an assessment of the set targets and the missed goals of the past before coming with yet another recipe that will not yield any food for Namibians come end of the implementation era.

Audit check
Renowned and well-read economic analyst, Klaus Schade, believes there is need for Government to align their development plans with the presidential terms of incumbents.
 Schade says the alignment of the ND5 for instance with the period that the HPP is to be implemented could be the missing jigsaw puzzle in making sure that implementation, Namibia’s long lost cousin, is found.

Perhaps his sentiments are close to fact that many local and international analysts concur that Namibia has been a good breeding ground for sound economic and developmental policies on paper but nothing materialises in reality because there is just no stringent monitoring and evaluation.

“A number of strategies have not been implemented and hence envisaged outcomes have not been achieved.   Annual sectoral execution plans and progress reports have not been made public although that was the intention,” Schade tells Prime Focus.

He believes that Namibia needs to move into the edge of smart thinking and start aligning their policies with the changing political, economic and social issues in a bid to make sure that most of the plans that have been mooted only to gather dust in files see fruition.

“We need to design smart policies that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and targeted.  Policies need to be supported by strategies and by a strong Monitoring and Evaluation Framework in order to ensure that we know what works and what does not work.  If some of the strategies do not bring the expected results, we need to adjust the strategies,” he says.

He adds that, “Government could consider aligning the National Development Plans to the presidential terms, so that the Government can set its new priorities at the beginning of each presidential term.  The Harambee Prosperity Plan could have been a good opportunity for the alignment.  NDP5 could have been postponed to the next presidential term in order to avoid duplications, overlaps and or divergent objectives.”

Where are we missing it?
Schade, just like all the other analysts, believes that Government has also has a serious lack of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for all their policy.

 This, he adds, has always been the Achilles heel for Namibia in its quest to achieve all the set goals.
 In fact one analyst, who preferred keeping anonymity because he is currently active in the consolation process for the forthcoming NDP, believes that none of the set goals of the NDP 4 were met and its only naïve to think of coming up with new goals before dealing with the demons of the past.

Lack of cohesion
Perhaps the worst enemy to meeting the targets set for previous and future policies is the need for a social contract, an indeed one that works.
Government has always pinned the success of the NDPs on the understanding that the private sector and public sector paly complementary roles. However at some point the other part was left in the dark with very little or no knowledge of what their role in achieving success will be.

“Common to all of us, Government, the private sector, labour and civil society in our joint commitment to achieving the goals set out in NDP4 are strong values.

We cherish as a nation, good governance, partnership, and people centered economic development. NDP4 broadly comprises three priority areas. Each of these will be attended to by a number of strategic areas. For all strategic areas, desired outcomes for 2017 have been formulated, along with the recommended strategies that need to be implemented,” Alweendo once said while launching the NDP4, but alas, there is very little traits of cohesion between public and private players towards the end of the journey.