Neeef Bill Set for September

THE long delayed empowerment policy that has been on and off the shelf may see the light of day towards the end of the year.

The New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) has been delayed for various reasons but Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the bill will be tabled in parliament in September.

In the Government Accountability 2015-2016 report, which is part of budget documents, the government admitted that nothing was achieved on NEEEF as the contents of the document still need to be agreed upon. The government said there was slow pace in getting consensus on the contents of the NEEEF document.

Responding to a query from The Namibian on the progress made to implement NEEEF, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said several rounds of consultations on the policy had already taken place.

“Government has decided that with the inputs received during these consultations, it will now finanlise the bill for tabling in parliament. A target date of September has been set,” she said.

BLUEPRINT

According to government documents, the objectives of the NEEEF include ensuring that Namibian resources are shared in an equitable and sustainable way. The policy also wants to see the implementation of measurable policies of redressing and redistributing wealth.

It also hoped that NEEEF will lead to the removal of barriers of socio-economic aancement to enable previously disaantaged persons to access productive assets and opportunities of empowerment.

Some of the other objectives are actively guarding against the repugnant tendencies of window dressing, favouritism, nepotism and self-enrichment.

The NEEEF blueprint also says an empowering act is meant to launch individuals to empower themselves in the future using the basis of their initial empowerment. Economic empowerment may be organised in public, private, joint public-private, cooperative, co-ownership, small-scale and family-owned.

NEW BROOM

It remains to be seen whether the new government under President Hage Geingob will push for the implementation of NEEEF, which is seen as one of the biggest hopes of redistributing wealth in the country, which has one of the biggest gaps between the rich and the poor in the world.

During his state of the nation address on 21 April, Geingob said the house in which a few are affluent while the rest are poor is not a healthy house.

But he said, during the past 25 years, considerable progress had been made in reducing income disparities in Namibia

The Gini-coefficient that measures income disparity declined from 0,70 in 1994 to 0,58 in 2010.

“Admittedly, one would have liked to see a sharper reduction in the levels of inequality, but what is most important is the fact that we are moving in the right direction. It also shows that it is possible to grow the economic cake,” Geingob said.

Official statistics show that the poverty rate declined significantly from 69,3% in 1994 to 28,7% in 2010. The poverty levels are now at around 28,9%.

Source : The Namibian