Economic downturn blamed for NDP4 failure

By Lahja Nashuuta

Windhoek – The Namibian economy has registered an average growth of 4.8 percent against a projected average growth of 6 percent between July 2012 and March 2017, during the implementation period of the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).

This is according to the NDP4 Terminal Report that was tabled by Economic Planning Minister Tom Alweendo in Parliament on Tuesday. The report is based on the overall progress made towards the achievement of the NDP4 goals, desired outcome and strategic initiatives.

The report also highlights some performance challenges experienced, lesson learned as well as recommendations to improve planning and implementation of development interventions.

Speaking in Parliament, Alweendo said although one of the priorities laid out in NDP4 was job creation, only 79,544 jobs were created during that period, representing 88 percent of the targeted 90,000 jobs.

Alweendo, who doubles as Director General of National Planning Commission (NPC) attributed the failure to the economic downturn during 2016. NPC is the implementation government agency of the National Development Plans.

“Because of the economic down turn during 2016, instead of net job creation there was a net job loss. In fact, the latest Labour Force Survey suggests that unemployment is on the increase,” Alweendo said.

Regarding reducing income inequality target, the NDP4 outcome was a Gini coefficient of 0.572 against a target of 0.4 from the baseline of 0.597 in 2009.

Another failure was recorded in the energy sector.  Alweendo said although the plan targeted 750MW in energy production that was not met, as the total production capacity of all energy generating stations in Namibia stands at 503MW.

He said this was due to envisaged huge projects that could not be implemented during the period.

While in terms of logistic, the NDP4’s desired outcome to double cargo volumes from the baseline of 6.2 million tonnes was also not achieved due to challenges experienced by the countries in SADC region that the ports serve in terms of cargo handlings. During the period under review the average cargo volumes were recorded at 5.3 million tonnes.

Furthermore, an improvement was also recorded in the health sector from the baseline of 57 to 58 against a targeted 59, although progress was noted in the reduction of incidence of TB from 727 to 561 per 1000 persons.

While manufacturing contributed an average of 10.8 percent against an NDP4 target of 18.7 percent with the declines in performance attributed to meat processing, beverages, textile and clothing and basic non-ferrous metals subsections that registered declines in 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial year.

Regarding housing, NPD4 recorded an improvement in the percentage of households living in modern housing, from the baseline of 41 percent to 45.2 percent against targeted 60 percent.

On a positive note, Alweendo said the growth rate achieved during NDP4 was higher than the 3.6 percent recorded during NDP3.

He said during the period between 2012 and 2016, the GDP per capital grew by 10 percent from R42,000 to R47,000 while the poverty levels declined to 18 percent in 2016 from 28 percent in 2010.

He said the desired outcome for education sector was to improve the overall quality of education and improve Grade 10 and 12 results during the period under review. The quality of education ratings, according to World Economic Forum, improved from 2.8 out of 5 to 3.2 while the average Grade 12 and 10 passes with 25 to 30 points improved from 29.5 to 29.96 and 21.2 percent during the NDP4 period.

Other notable improvements were recorded in transport, especially in the railway network with 70 percent that meets the SADC recommendations of 18.5 axle loads.

Alweendo further reveals that during NDP4 period recorded an overall budget allocation of R269 billion of which R42 billion was allocated to development budget, while R227 was allocated to operation budget. An expenditure outturn of R270 billion was recorded during the NPD4 period, translating into 100.1 percent execution rate.

He said out of the overall NDP4 expenditure, R36 billion was spend on economic priority sectors namely; logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture while 105 billion was spent on social sector namely health, education and housing while the remaining R128 billion was spent on other sectors such as energy, mining , fishing, public administration, security and ICT sectors.

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