Priority is on growth and jobs

Windhoek – The new Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has dedicated his time in office to promoting economic policy coherence around growth and jobs, addressing risks of asset and liability of the public sector, executing a credible budget process that allocates resources in line with spending plans and making the financial sector serve Namibia better.

Schlettwein made these commitments that he said were among eight key performance areas that his staff must also emulate when he briefed them last week.

He also undertook to exercise sound public finance management, including capacity building; reforming the tax system in order to broaden the tax base; to facilitate economic growth to make foreign and domestic investment attractive; implementing a strategic communications and outreach that addresses stakeholders and building an institution that is a centre of excellence.

“Since the Ministry of Finance plays a pivotal policy and operational role in the economy and the financial system of Namibia, it is for this reason that we cannot afford delays, errors and oversights,” he emphasised.

He urged the staff to enhance professional and dedicated leadership and rise to the challenge to uphold the Ministry’s reputation “as a beacon of stability in these turbulent times in pursuit of our constitutional mandate”.

Schlettwein cautioned that the years ahead would pose major challenges and that it was therefore required of the employees to have the necessary skills, resources and agility to analyse the economic and political environment.

He said that as a small open economy with external risk outside its control, the country lives in uncertain times that can send Namibia into recession if there are no significant resources to buffer crisis.

“I require a robust monitoring and evaluation framework so that we can regularly track the progress in implementation and delivery over the short, medium and long term,” he added, saying that without effective planning, monitoring and evaluation, it would be impossible to judge if work is going in the desired direction.

The Finance Minister said that he met with President Hage Geingob who spelt out his Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and expectations, which among others are to maintain prudent macro-economic stability and sustained economic growth, consolidate monetary and fiscal policies geared towards promoting investment and broaden Namibia’s participation in the national economy and public procurement of goods and services.

“I want to stress that in a room full of smart people, we can only be successful if we work together,” he pointed out, adding that if Namibia was on the path to being industrialised, then resource allocation must be a matter of priority.

Schlettwein implored his staff to spread wealth more equitably so that resources do not go to waste.

Speaking on behalf of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) under the Ministry of Finance, the CEO of Agribank, Leonard Iipumbu said that they embraced the notion of performance and were ready to take on the challenge.

“We give our assurance to your Ministry of our adherence to performance. We will redirect our thinking in accountability to perform and provide results,” he said.

May 2015
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