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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Delinking From The Rand Not That Beneficial - Ipumpu Shiimi

Taken from The Namibian - Chamwe Kaira
Delinking from the South African rand will not be in Namibia's best interest, central bank governor Ipumpu Shiimi has said.
Speaking in an interview, he said Namibia continues to benefit from this arrangement and breaking the link between the two currencies will not be in the best interest of the country. 
Shiimi said the developments affecting the rand would have affected the Namibia dollar more or less in the same way, if the Namibia dollar was delinked. Namibia is paid over N$200 million per annum by South Africa as part of the currency arrangement. 
The rand was trading at 16,44 versus the US dollar early yesterday, according to Reuters data. Previously, the rand had hit a new low against the US dollar, to almost R18. Namibia imports the majority of its goods from South Africa.
“We understand the concerns about the weakening of the rand. What is however important to note is that the main driving force behind the weakening of the rand is the strengthening of the US dollar on account of improvements in the US economy,” said Shiimi. 
He said all emerging market currencies are affected by this development, and as such the rand is not alone. 
“Of late some political developments in SA contributed to the weakening of the rand, but we believe these will start to fade away in the foreseeable future.”
He emphasised that Namibia will only leave the Common Monetary Area (CMA) if the arrangement is no longer beneficial to the country. 
“We have not seen a situation that warrants such a decision. In fact, the direction in the Southern African Development Community is to pursue a deeper regional integration. Of course it will be irresponsible of Namibia not to have plan B which could be rolled out if Plan A is not longer effective,” he said. 
On the other hand, he said a weak rand means exporters are earning more money in the domestic currency. “This could mean more foreign exchange and also more government revenue from exporters.”
The central bank is projecting the economy to grow at a slow pace of 4,3% in 2016 compared to 5,4% in 2015. In 2014, the GDP growth was 6,3%. Shiimi believes despite the slowdown, the growth is respectable. 
The main risks include a reversal of growth in advanced countries, a more-than expected decline in China's economy, worsening conditions in other emerging market countries, weaker growth in South Africa and Angola and drought at home. 
“This means revenue for the private sector and government as well as domestic economic activities will still increase, although at a slower pace compared to 2014. It also means some additional employment opportunities will still be created, but the number of new jobs could be fewer compared to the new opportunities created in 2014. Overall, it means we should remain positive because the Namibian economy is still growing, but we need to work harder to increase the growth of the economy to the level of 7% envisaged in NDP4 for us to reduce unemployment and poverty in line with the national agenda,” he said. 
Shiimi said although prices of some basic goods and services will increase because of the drought Inflation is projected to remain far below 10% in the foreseeable future. Inflation averaged 3,4% in 2015. 
“Namibians are however advised not to load themselves with debt which they cannot afford.”
The central bank will make a monetary policy decision next month. The repo rate currently stands at 6,5%.
“The decision on interest rates will be data dependent. If Namibians continue to take up too much debt and use it to buy unproductive luxury imports, the monetary policy committee may not have a choice but to raise interest rates,” he said. 
He said the mining output is still expected to increase, despite a weaker diamond sector because of additional output coming from Husab and B2Gold. 
The expected rise in growth next year is on account of these two mines ramping up their production to reach full capacity. At full production, Husab output will increase Namibia's total uranium product, such that the country will be the third-largest producer globally and B2Gold production will more than double the current gold production, he added.

Ministerial Performance Agreements In Detail

Anne: Shortly after taking office President Hage Geingob instructed every single minister to set up a performance agreement detailing what each ministry will be tackling and completeing during their term of office. There were a few delays in getting the documents finalised, but they have finally been made public. They are valid from 1st October 2015 to 31st March 2016.


Taken from The Namibian newspaper website.


Urban and rural development minister: Sophia Shaningwa
• Provide the leadership needed to deliver affordable housing for Namibians especially those in the ultra low-income brackets.
• Accelerate the delivery of serviced urban land for 14 regional councils and 54 local authorities.
• Ensure improved service delivery by sub-national governments and traditional authorities. 
• Improve living conditions in rural communities.
• Ensure that public officers in the ministry suspected of engaging in corrupt practices step aside to pave the way for independent investigation.
• Institute measures aimed at developing participation governance institutions and improving access to essential services at sub-national levels.
• Develop a policy and institutional framework for effective and integrated urban and regional planning and development.
Poverty eradication minister: Zephania Kameeta
• Develop a national blueprint on poverty eradication and social welfare to be approved and endorsed by Cabinet on 31 March 2016. 
• Pledge to upgrade food security for the vulnerable people in Namibia by finalising the policy on food banks and ensure the construction and functioning of food banks at identified sites.
• Empower the poor so that they break out of the cycle of abject poverty and are able to meaningfully participate and contribute to the economic growth of the country.
• Take necessary measures to pave the way for independent investigations for staff members suspected of taking part in corrupt acts.
Higher education minister: Itah Kandjii-Murangi 
• Put in place aggressive measures for Namibian vocational and technical higher education institutions to produce technical and high level skilled human resources to drive the economy.
• Develop a national innovation system to produce scientific technological and social innovations as well a innovative processes that will drive economic growth. 
Land reform minister: Utoni Nujoma
• Acquire 188 000 hectares of land for resettlement purposes.
• Have 94 previously disadvantage landless Namibians resettled and have the number of 373 leasehold land registered with 40 090 customary land rights registered as well.
•Ensure land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement.
Finance minister: Calle Schlettwein
• Ensure that an annual target of total debt stock of not more than 32% of Gross Domestic Product is achieved, thus maintain economic stability.
• Improve GDP growth rates by 5,5% and have a consistently low inflation rate of less than 10% in order to give room for rising economic growth.
• Improve foreign reserves by ensuring an annual target of three months import cover.
Prime Minister: Saara Kuugongelwa
• Make sure that compliance with the Affirmative Action Act is increased by 80% and that there is improvement in the recruitment process. 
• Have about 9 300 public servants trained through institutions such as Nipam, thereby enhancing efficiency and service delivery.
• The natural disaster risk management plan will be reviewed and a strategy will be developed to reduce the impact of disasters.
Gender minister: Doreen Sioka 
• Tackle gender-based violence by sensitising 3 996 men and boys annually and reaching over 202 000 community members.
• Improve enrollment of children from rural and urban communities in early childhood development centres by 37 000 annually.
• Have about 8 000 disadvantaged women supported with skills development annually.
Health minister: Bernard Haufiku
• Provide leadership and stewardship and ensure that people have access to healthcare irrespective of their social or economic status.
• Ensure that resources allocated to the ministry by government and by other sources are used efficiently for effective service delivery that people desire and deserve, while avoiding unnecessary wastage.
• Reduce mortality and mobility especially maternal and infant mortality.
• Carry out infrastructure development and maintenance.
• Work on human resources development and utilisation as well as strengthening the human resource base.
• Make adequate pharmaceutical and related medical supplies available.
• Ensure effective coordination between all stakeholders.
• Improve health service delivery, planning and management. 
• Rationalise and improve supply chain management in the procurement of pharmaceutical and medical supplies. 
• Ensure effective and efficient management of disabilities and rehabilitation services.
• Ensure a unified health professions legislation. 
• Establish food and traditional medicine standards. Put an effective standard feedback mechanism in place to ensure efficiency and value for money. 
• Improve physical infrastructure at health centres and district hospitals such as Katima Mulilo, Engela, Outapi and Opuwo hospitals. 
• Ensure the availability of a new staff establishment. Have responsive infrastructure in place and implemented. 
• Have facilities adequately equipped with required human resources in terms of quality and quantity.
• Have transparent and competitive procurement practices implemented. 
Presidential Affairs Minster: Frans Kapofi
• To ensure that the President has at his disposal adequate political, economical and administrative support in order to carry out his responsibility of governing the country effectively.
•Advise the President on national socio-economic issues emanating from offices, ministries, agencies, traditional authorities and from the private sector. 
• Facilitate interactions with different stakeholders at national level and those with an impact on the country's development.
Attorney general: Sacky Shanghala
• Improve the quality of legal advisory opinions and arrange specialised and continuous training for lawyers.
• Ensure that sufficient research materials are available and also that enough lawyers are at hand for rendering legal opinions. 
• Arrange specialised and continuous programmes for lawyers while also reducing the number of days within which opinions are submitted to the AG to 20 days.
Fisheries minister: Bernhardt Esau 
• Ensure that aquatic resources are managed judiciously and for the benefit of present and future generations. 
• To make certain that Total Allowance Catch reports are submitted and endorsed by Cabinet annually.
• Ensure the sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources is maintained and that Namibia retains its competitive advantage in the production and marketing of all commercially exploited living marine resources.
• Meet an annual target of 2% increase in volume of export and ensure that fish products are available for local people. 
• Increase revenue by ensuring timely revenue collection by 90%.
Education minister Katrina: Hanse-Himarwa 
• Reduce the dropout rate of pupils at schools by 1% a year and also ensure that there is an improvement in completion rates.
• Increase enrollment rates of children at pre-primary level thereby improving readiness of learners for primary schools by 95%.
• Ensure adequate funding for construction and rehabilitation and equipping of education facilities by 55%.
• Complete10 capital projects in a year while also similarly increasing the number of classrooms by 280.
Environment and tourism minister: Pohamba Shifeta 
• Provide a solid and exciting foundation for contributing to sustainable development of the nation.
• Achieve an annual target of 17,5% contribution to the GDP by the tourism sector.
• Achieve a 21,3% contribution to total employment by the tourism industry. 
• Oversee the development, maintenance and implementation of a framework to the capacity of the ministry to improve monitor compliance with the provisions of the environmental. 
• Have 288 environmental impact assessments processed, five conservancies supported and 10 conservancies and 11 park management plans implemented.
• Improve the annual target for the Waterberg, Naute Dam and Daan Viljoen Parks.
• Put an anti-poaching strategy in place and submit it to Cabinet.
• Train 20 people per year in selected fields in tourism. 
• Create 199 jobs annually.
• Initiate trophy hunting pilot phases by February 2016.
• Ensure Online processing and issuing of trophy hunting permits.


David: Here is an interesting article that we received via NAMPA that I would like to share with you because it spoke to me about how important it is to always try to be cognisant of the fact that, while there may be many who have more (of whatever it is) than you, there are also so very many who have so much less, but carry on trying to do what they can to improve their situation.

By July Nafuka (NAMPA)

Most people’s New Year’s Resolutions centre around living a more healthy lifestyle or improving themselves in another way. For Rauna Aikombo, her wishes for the new year have to do with her business.

Sitting in her stall surrounded by the foodstuffs she sells along Omuvapu Street in Windhoek’s Freedom Land, the 40-year-old mother of two schoolgoing children says all she wants this year is a place where she can run her small business freely - and of course to grow the business.

Being a street vendor is not easy. Just as she settles in, she has to pack up and leave again as the places she trades from are mostly situated on erven that belong to private individuals. “In this business it’s hard to get a stable place where you can put up your tent as people always chase you away. You really don’t have a permanent place from where you can run your business,” she says.

Aikombo explains that getting a permanent spot would not only make her life easier, but would also make things more convenient for her customers. “Every dollar I make makes a big difference, and that keeps me going,” she says.
Aikombo started trading in 2010. She sold 'oshikundu' (a traditional drink) from a 25 litre bucket. Throughout the years she started selling fruit, vegetables, snacks, sweets, recharge vouchers – whatever is needed in the community around her. On average, the business brings in N.dollars 13 000 per year.

This year, she hopes to expand it even more, hopefully in a permanent location safe from the sun, wind and occasional rain.
“It is just another year of working hard and making sure my business makes it into the new year,” a smiling Aikombo says while attending to her customers. 

She is one of many vendors who, as most of Windhoek wakes up at around 06h00, has already started trading in order to help their first customers on their way to work or school. They stop trading between 18h00 and 21h00, when their customers have made their way home from work.

Another vendor, trading in the One Nation informal settlement close to Omuvapu Street, is the 25-year-old vendor KK Shikongo, who says his hope for his business this year is that he can grow it by erecting at least two more stalls in his area. “In business you never settle for less, and as a businessman you have to keep growing. You will face a lot of challenges but the secret is to just keep going. That is what helps you make money,” he says.

Shikongo also speaks about how running a business from a shack has its downsides, one of which is the rain which can damage his stock. But damaged stock is easier to handle than thieves, who find it easy to get away at night in an area where there is no electricity. Working after dark, Shikongo uses a candle or torch. 

Still, the young man is proud of what he has achieved. Looking around at the shelves packed with fruit, vegetables, snacks, cleaning products and toiletries, he recalls how he started off at the age of 21. “I only sold cigarettes and sweets. I am proud of how it has grown over the past few years into a small mini market for the community,” he said. 

A pleased Shikongo told Nampa his annual income of about N.dollar 16 000 has sustained his family of three for the past few years. He even managed to buy a 1991 Toyota Corolla last year.

Also trading in the One Nation informal settlement are Amon Nakafingo, 30; and Agnes Shidute, 35. Their stock is similar to that of Shikongo and Aikombo, but when they started off this was not the case. “We just started with a small table that I made. We sold onions and tomatoes for N.dollar 1. We then later added things like sweets, packets of soup and bread and actually had to buy a bigger table to accommodate everything. As the years went by we managed to make enough to build a shack,” Nakafingo says.
He said their biggest boost came in 2011, when the community in the vicinity started asking for more and varied stock, and they had to meet the demands of their customers. “Customers are the most important people to a business, and I am glad that we have such a good relationship with ours,” he says.

The same customers now want them to start selling meat, fish and poultry. “But it is not going to be easy as we don’t have electricity here,” Nakafingo says. Their new year’s resolution is to once again meet their customers demands by finding an affordable and efficient way to stock meat, fish and dairy products. This will make a big difference in Nakafingo and Shidute’s business, which has helped them to support eight children – some their own and others, family children - over the past six years.
At the moment, they make between N.dollars 14 000 and N.dollars 16 000 a year.