NAMIBIA SHOULD GROW DOWNSTREAM INDUSTRIES TO PROCESS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE, SAYS CENTRAL BANK

WINDHOEK, Namibia needs to grow its own downstream industries which process agricultural produce in order to create jobs and income, says Bank of Namibia Governor Iipumbu Shiimi.

Speaking at the central bank's 18th Annual Symposium here Thursday, he added that the challenge lies in doing this with efficiency while building skills and a competitive advantage.

Shiimi also warned that the process should not burden consumers with higher prices and taxpayers with higher taxes in order to pay subsidies to those downstream industries.

"Despite the agricultural sector being a priority sector in our National Development Plans (NDPs), the progress in the sector has been slow," said Shiimi.

He noted that the limited progress over the previous NDPs showed that achieving the level of productivity required is not easy, and the complexities of development, which are compounded by the country's erratic and hostile climatic conditions, should be acknowledged.

The contribution of agriculture to Namibia's gross domestic product (GDP) declined from 4.0 per cent in 2008 to 3.5 per cent in 2016 with an average of 4.2 per cent over the same period.

"In terms of growth, the sector contracted by an average of 2.2 per cent over the same period, therefore the need for improved agriculture productivity in Namibia cannot be over-emphasized," he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK