And lamentations by regional governors continue…

This year’s budget’s tax relief is certainly an early Christmas present, I must say.

This gesture will, for sure, have a significant impact on the national economy provided the returns are wisely invested. We are a consumer nation, thus, the spending appetite must surely be tamed!

Some people have since suggested that the Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, stays in office given the dexterity in which she handles the national purse.

Some financial analysts and commentators are so impressed with the Government’s move that they say the budget is quite expansionary for a developing nation, which is a move in the right direction.

During the budget luncheon hosted by KPMG, Prime Focus magazine and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) late last month, Leake Hangala caught my attention. He recommended that the Government encourages local millionaires to play a role in the development of their communities.

This, he believes, would have a ripple effect in ensuring that their immediate families and neighbours gain opportunities to attend the best schools and universities, which would eventually create a permanent dent on poverty and inequality.

According to him, having access to money to start a business is very difficult as the current situation with the commercial banks makes the process very cumbersome.

This is a reality that banks should wake up to and act upon. They need to create opportunities for ordinary citizens to access funds.

I must commend this Government for making sure that the citizens of this country participate in the mainstream economy.

As the National Planning Commission (NPC)’s Tom Alweendo recently pointed out, the only way the Government can create employment is by employing more civil servants.

In our current lead story is an extensive interview with Bernadus Swartbooi in which he speaks of the state of affairs in Karas Region.

I have no doubt he speaks on behalf of his fellow governors when he says something that has touched my heart: “As governors, we are donkeys.”

It goes without saying that our governors who are supposed to create economic hubs are poorly resourced. It is a case of suffering in the midst of plenty. One wonders why this should even be the case when millions of dollars are returned to the treasury every year.

What then holds back ministries and their permanent secretaries (PSes) to cement relationships with these regional leaders? Is this not the country we fought for and would like to see develop?

I am sure Prime Minister Hage Geingob’s remarks about the PSes will be heeded this time around.

Tenders are approved and sometimes cancelled from Windhoek without the knowledge of the governor/s.

The decentralisation is taking time to materialise. Is it not embarrassing that of all the ministries and Government agencies we have, only the ministries of Education and Works and Transport have decentralised. Where are the rest?

Stifling regional development is taking a toll on the Namibian towns and cities. We cannot stop rural-urban migration, as there are benefits to it. Turns out that Windhoek alone receives 600 people per month who come to permanently settle. It is a double-edged sword; there are already consequences on the rural areas and the towns.

As we celebrate 23 years of independence, we have taken time to salute our heroes and heroines for sacrificing their lives for our political freedom.

We caught up with the deputy commissioner of the Namibian Police (Nampol), Hilma Tweeya and the City of Windhoek mayor, Agnes Kafula.

Having lived through the liberation struggle era, they share with us their near-death experiences. Their stories are heart-rending and speak greatly of their acts of valour despite their gender. That they still hold office and serve this nation to date, is commendable.

Happy 23rd Independence, Land of the Brave. Until the next edition, let’s keep moving; let’s keep growing; let’s strive for nothing but excellence, for we belong to the greatest and most reputable and unique. PF