Published on June 21st, 2016 | by admin0
Seeking More by Taking a different Tack
with the Harambee prosperity plan and ndp4 underperformance lOOming large, government has commenced the drafting of the next national development plan, writes Brigitte Weidlich.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) will thankfully revert back to broad consultations for preparations towards the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), having learnt lessons from NDP4, which drew widespread criticism excluding many during its planning phase. The general public was mostly unaware of the NDP4 until the document was disseminated. According to a white paper to prepare NDP5, which was made public last month, a first public conference was planned for this month followed by a second one in August. A final draft is to be submitted to Cabinet in October. The official launch of the NDP5 is planned for March 2017.
Interestingly the ‘White Paper on drafting the fifth NDP – Big push towards prosperity’ of the NPC states that among the lessons learned through NDP4, which ends in March 2017, “is the need to re-align the NDPs to coincide with the electoral process”. NDPs should kick off at the same time when a new legislative period starts,
which is usually March in the new year, following presidential and parliamentary elections the preceding year. This would also dovetail with the government’s financial year, which runs from April to March the following year. The NPC admits in the white paper that the current misalignment, being an NDP starting halfway-through a legislative period, developed due to delays caused when drafting the last two NDPs. “The misalignment of the planning cycle with that of the government cycle has resulted in deviations from planned programmes and a need to introduce supplementary plans or programmes.” According to the NPC, a new government might have priorities “that are not completely in sync with the priorities of the previous government and an ongoing NDP”. In its white paper the NPC proposes that the NDP5 could run for a shorter period, namely three years until March 2020, when after the 2019 elections a new government will be formed. A new NDP could then be formulated to run from 2020 to 2025, which would “be in line with [election] campaign messages and the mandates given through elections”. A second possibility proposed is to let the NDP5 run for eight years from April 2017 to March 2025. The latter option would ensure that the last NDP would run until the year 2030, to complete Vision2030, Namibia’s overarching development plan. “The [envisaged new] re-alignment will allow each NDP to emphasise and reflect special issues promised in election cam paigns and minimise needs to develop and craft special development programmes and craft special projects in the middle of an ongoing NDP”, the document states. The white paper is silent on the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and how it fits in. Introducing the NDP5 white paper to Cabinet at State House in April, both Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and NPC Minister Tom Alweendo stated that the HPP would be harmonised with NDP5. The ambitious HPP is to run for four years only, until March 2020. When the NDP5 kicks in by April 2017, only three years of HPP implementation will be left.
The first three NDPs mainly focused Namibia’s own developmental needs. NDP4 included the target to make Namibia a transport and logistics hub for southern Africa, thus including a regional dimension. Some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were also taken into consideration. According to Johannes Ashipala, deputy chief of the National Planning Advice Unit in the NPC, speaking at a May workshop, things will be different this time around. “Our policy setting for NDP has three spheres, being the economic sphere, the social and the environment sphere.” The drafting of NDP5 would not only be guided by Vision 2030 and the ruling Swapo Party manifesto of 2014, but also by the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, and the United Nations’ Agenda 2030, which has 17 sustainable goals and 169 targets. “Another guiding document is the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which Namibia is also a member state, apart from being a member of the AU,” said Ashipala. Climate change and resolutions taken at the climate summit in Paris, France, last December would also be considered.
At the same workshop, Sylvester Mbangu, who heads the NPC’s National Development Advice Unit, took participants through the mixed results of NDP4. The envisaged six percent average economic growth has not quite been achieved, with 5.7 percent growth rate. Economic growth was largely jobless, although by the end of 2013, some 690,019 people were employed. “The out turn for 2014 is an estimated 710,745 employed people of a total workforce of 990,998 people,” said Ashipala. Namibia’s unemployment rate stands at 28.1 percent. The manufacturing sector underperformed during NDP4 contrary to high hopes and aspirations. According to the NDP5 white paper, manufacturing is key to Namibia’s industrialisation and development ambitions. Manufacturing was to contribute 16.6 percent to GDP at the end of 2014. However, manufacturing contracted from 13.7 percent in 2011 to 12.2, 11.2 and 10.7 percent over the three years until 2014. The manufacturing sector was supposed to create 15,707 jobs during the NDP4 period but only created some 437 jobs. On the positive side, the logistics sector has created 4,547 jobs, slightly more than the target of 3,948 jobs. In terms of energy supply the NDP4 targeted 750MW of local electricity supply, but Namibia only produces some 490MW, while the demand stands at 560MW. With regard to housing, the NDP4 aimed for 60 percent of all Namibian households in formal housing by March 2017. This will not be achieved. The NDP5 white paper notes that government departments and public enterprises are to make submissions to the NPC for the new national development plan. These submissions will form the basis for the sectoral strategies proposed. During the second NDP5 conference in August, the first draft will be discussed. The NPC envisages that at the final stage two documents will be drafted – a higherlevel document outlining all goals, priority sectors, envisaged outcomes and higher national strategies, while the second document will contain the sectoral implementation action plans. The public sector investment programme (PSIP) highlighting the estimated investment requirements will be an annex to the main NDP5 document. The NDP4 did not have an PSIP, which was one of its shortcomings.