It is my distinct honour to rise before this august House to table the Terminal Report of our fourth National Development Plan (NDP4), which came to an end in March 2017.
At the official launch of NDP4 in July 2012, I remarked that our development planning should be about “real people out there who are challenged daily by real issues. It should not be about how eloquent our plan is, but more about how to make it possible for those who are looking for jobs to find them.”
I also remarked that “it should be about making it possible for parents to be able to afford the necessary education and health services for their families. It should be about how to enable low-income earners to afford housing. It should be about how to effectively remove all the constraints to our economic competitiveness, without which we cannot compete with the rest of the world.”
This is an important point to reinforce because as elected representatives to this august House, at the heart of our responsibilities is the need to safeguard the welfare of the Namibian people.
It was against this backdrop that NDP4 was drafted. NDP4 was a development plan driven by a deep concern that things are not what they ought to be and by the desire to construct a sustainable economic future. During the formulation of NDP4, we took a conscious decision to focus our efforts and resources on the areas that have the greatest potential to impact our development challenges.
For this reason, NDP4 focused on three goals, namely to foster faster and sustainable economic growth, employment creation opportunities, and enhanced income equality. Our aim was to place Namibia on course towards achieving Vision 2030 and put us on a sustainable development trajectory that would serve the country well in addressing other equally pressing development challenges.
During the NDP4 period the economy grew on average by 4.7% against a projected average growth of 6%. During the period between 2012 and 2016 the GDP per capita grew by 10%, from N$42,000 to N$47,000 and the poverty levels declined to 18% in 2016 from 28% in 2010.
Although one of the priorities laid out in NDP4 was job creation, the biggest development challenge that is still unyielding is that of unemployment. During NDP4 just over 79 000 (79,544) jobs were created, representing 88% of the target of 90,000 jobs. Because of the economic downturn during 2016, instead of net job creation there was a net job loss last year. In fact the latest labour force survey suggests that unemployment is on the increase.
With regards to reducing income inequality, the target during NDP4 was to achieve a Gini Coefficient of 0.48 from a baseline of 0.597 as per the 2009/2010 Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES). The NDP4 outcome was 0.572, according to the preliminary NHIES for 2015/16, showing a marginal improvement from the baseline.
In taking stock of our achievements during the NDP4 implementation period, our objective is to make our development plans more flexible in responding to our development challenges. While there has been a notable improvement in our socio-economic environment in various areas of NDP4 – such as quality of education, health outcomes, environment and good governance, we acknowledge that much more needs to be done. It is also important to note that during the NDP4 implementation period we were faced by some challenging economic headwinds.
It is said that experience is the mother of wisdom and that a stumble may prevent a fall. One of the most important lessons we have learned during the implementation of the NDP4 is that a plan is an effective development tool only when the potential beneficiaries have helped to shape such a plan. The methodology adopted during the formulation of NDP4 was more of a top-down approach with minimal consultations with stakeholders. As a result, there was less than optimal buy-in from various important stakeholders, such as the private sector and non-state actors.
It was for this reason that the formulation process for NDP5 was informed by a strong desire to ensure that as many stakeholders as possible were consulted. We held extensive consultations, where we visited all fourteen regions of our country with the view to afford the citizens an opportunity to provide their input. We also made it possible for the private sector and the non-state actors to give their input. This was done because we are convinced that most of our biggest challenges can be resolved successfully only when the Government teams up with businesses, development partners, social entrepreneurs and the citizens at large.
IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND EVALUATION
In the implementation of NDP4, we adopted a sectorial approach where lead ministries were to coordinate the implementation within their respective sectors. This approach turned out to be less than optimal and as a result the sectorial level of implementation was not always as cohesive as it possibly could have been.
Having learned some lessons during NDP4, the implementation of NDP5 will take a multi-stakeholder approach. In NDP5 the emphasis is more on a results-based framework that focuses on the monitoring and evaluation of goals, targets, and outcomes. Clear reporting modalities for monitoring and evaluation have been outlined in NDP5. This approach will be heavily dependent on detailed and relevant statistics as key inputs. It will also require all Government offices and agencies to align their strategic plans with NDP5 and key statistics will help to ensure coherency in our monitoring and evaluation framework.
These are good lessons learned and have helped us to improve our competencies during the drafting of NDP5. However, in order for us to do better with the implementation of NDP5, we need something else. We need to be more forceful in promoting a strong work ethic, a sense of duty to others and a strong thirst for self-improvement. We need to understand that in the progression of our socio-economic development agenda, there are no more too many low-hanging fruits waiting to be picked. What is needed is to be bold in implementing our agreed development plans without fail. It certainly does not augur well for our future wellbeing when some among us are more concerned with short term gains that are likely to jeopardize our future wellbeing. We need to cultivate the ethic of deferred gratification, in order for us to meet our long-term goals as articulated in our long term vision, V2030, in our National Development Plans and in the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The NDP4 Terminal Report, summarises the performance of the economy during the NDP4 planning period and provides insight into the progress made in delivering on our national development goals. The Report also highlights challenges experienced during the implementation, as well as lessons learned to improve future planning and implementation processes.
Going forward, we need to be more diligent in our duties, to be bold in our ambitions, to be innovative and pioneering in nurturing our dreams of a prosperous Namibia. The articulation of our development goals in our various NDPs is essential to ensure proper prioritisation in our resource allocation. We need investments in those areas where we can have a maximum impact on our socio-economic development and be more selective with regards to what we spend our limited financial resources on.
Let me conclude by saying that we might not have achieved everything we set out to achieve; and that we still have serious development challenges ahead of us. We still need to do more, and we must do more, and we will do more in order for us to give practical meaning to our President’s vision of a Namibian House where no one is left behind. I therefore call upon all of us to march forward with optimism and confidence – it is said that optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.
I thank you.