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President Geingob delivers State of the Nation Address

H.E. Dr Hage G. Geingob

 

 

President Hage Geingob delivered his highly anticipated State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 in a joint session of both houses of Parliament in the National Assembly Chamber. This is his 2nd State of the Nation Address since his inauguration last year.

The annual address required by the Namibian Constitution was concurrently delivered with outlines of the envisaged Harambee Prosperity Plan that is meant to fast-track the achievement of National Development Goals within a period of four years.

The Head of State mentioned a myriad of commitments he made when he assumed office and that most of these commitments have today being achieved. This is despite the fact that it has only been a year since these promises were made. Some of the achievements include the declaration of assets by both the Head of State, Members of Parliament and the entire civil service, implementation of performance agreements, the enactment of the public procurement bill and consultative town hall meetings with citizens among others.

 

 Poverty alleviation has been one of President Geingob’s priority areas. A government Ministry was solely created to tackle this scourge. One of his first steps towards this effort was to increase the old age social grant. “Poverty is multi-faceted and cannot be eradicated overnight. We therefore sought to make an immediate impact on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable by opting to increase the old age social grant. This grant will reach N$1200 in 2017 from N$600 in 2014 representing a 100% increase”, noted President Geingob to loud applause.

With Namibia being one of the most unequal societies in the world with GINI Coefficient estimated at 59.7, President Geingob stated that Namibia is working out modalities of wealth redistribution targeted to be achieved by the year 2025. The blueprint has already been finalized and is likely to be tabled in Parliament for debate.

President Geingob further noted that, as part of immediate poverty eradication intervention measures, the mooted food banks would be operated by unemployed youth who would be compensated as opposed to the controversial Basic Income Grant that gives an allowance to each citizen regardless of their financial standing.

The proposed solidarity tax which has caused anxiety and upheaval particularly among the working class also came under the spotlight during the address with President Geingob giving assurances that a task team that includes independent tax experts and headed by the Minister of Finance has been established to draft a white paper on this tax. He however clarified that the payment threshold targeted is in high income brackets only.

President Geingob announced that as a result of the equal gender representation policy known as 50/50 Zebra style in the governing Swapo party, Namibia is now ranked 2nd in Africa and 4th in the world in terms of female representation in Parliament.

 

Speaker Wants Staff to be Capacitated

Staff members of the National Assembly gathered for the annual address by the Speaker Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi

 

 

Training and capacity building featured prominently in the Speaker Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi’s speech to staff members of the National Assembly today (26/01/17).

The Speaker met the staff for an annual general meeting meant to heighten their spirits and activities of the institution at the start of each year.

 

 Hon. Prof Katjavivi emphasized the importance of human capital in any institution and the need to streamline the existing training policy to make it more effective. “All staff are important as they make the institution to function well. There is a great need to revisit the staff training policy to make it more effective and to make sure that we are complying with the rules and regulations of the National Assembly”, stressed Katjavivi. He noted that training should be prioritized despite the challenges of financial constraints. “We need to explore a number of avenues to mobilise resources outside our budget. We should make this a priority and it should not only apply to people at the top but also at the lower level”, implored Hon. Prof. Katjavivi.

He further urged for diligence and team work while discouraging late coming, noting the latter violates the principle of professionalism. “Staff should work hard as always and avoid late coming as professionals. We should be able to function well together and ready to assist one another”, appealed Katjavivi.

The Speaker revealed during the meeting that the Official Opening of Parliament, an annual undertaking that symbolizes the resumption of Parliament business, would take place in the Parliament Chambers as a cost cutting measure. Parliament will open on the 14th of February 2017. “Even though we had the event in Parliament gardens last year due to space constraints, we plan to have it in the Chamber this year to cut on costs”, said the Speaker.

 

Speaker meets Palestinian Ambassador, 15 February 2017

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi (left) with Palestinian ambassador, Hashem Dajani

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Palestinian non-resident Ambassador to Namibia, Hashem Dajani paid a courtesy call on Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi today this morning to brief him on current developments in Palestine. On his part, the Speaker pledged his unwavering support to the struggle of the Palestinian people as they seek self-determination.

“We have to make sure that the voice of the Palestinian people is heard and the struggle should be known. We need to mobilise people to fully understand the plight of Palestinians, stressed the Speaker.

 

President Geingob Urges MPs To Re-dedicate Themselves, 14 February 2017

President Dr. Hage Geingob delivering his address today during the official opening of Parliament

 

  Story by George Sanzila

The Head of State, His Excellency President Dr. Hage Geingob urged Parliament to deliver positive outcomes during this year’s session when he opened Parliament today (14/02/2017). He says Parliament performs a myriad of functions, chief among them law making, budget control, constituency functions and holding the executive accountable.

The Head of State said this during the opening of the fifth session of the sixth Parliament.

President Geingob urged Parliamentarians to abide by his declared credo of re-dedication. “You are the mirror of the society, accommodating the needs of these ever evolving times and shouldering the responsibilities bestowed upon you by the electorate”, said President Geingob.

 

 The Head of State noted that Parliament is the embodiment of a participatory democratic system and derives its power directly from the electorate. “Parliament derives its power directly from the consent of the people, expressed through periodic elections and it exists to implement the will of the people”, stated Geingob.

With land becoming a concern, President Geingob reiterated the postponement of the Land Bill that has of late sparked debate. “While delivering my address at the opening of the legal year last week, I announced that the tabling of the Land Bill will be postponed in favour of a national dialogue at which the Land issue will be thoroughly interrogated before a way forward is identified. This decision was after I had engaged the Honourable Minister of Land Reform, the Vice President and the Prime Minister”, said Geingob.

President Geingob further warned against tribalism and called for unity, rule of law, peace and stability.

The theme for this year’s Parliament session is “Parliament working towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's)". Over 40 bills are expected to be tabled during this year’s Parliament session.

 

Capacity Building Workshop Underway At Parliament, 15 February 2017

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter H. katjavivi (right) with the Head of the CPA-UK visiting delegation, Rt Hon. Baroness Blackstone (left)

 

  Story by George Sanzila

A capacity building training is underway at Parliament. The training programme follows the official opening of Parliament by President Dr. Hage Geingob yesterday.

The workshop being conducted by visiting United Kingdom Parliamentarians under the auspices of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) aims to support effective Parliamentary management and scrutiny of government policy, practices and budgets at the national level. It also seeks to strengthen the skills of the Parliamentary secretariat.

 

Speaking at the opening, speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi noted that he was extremely delighted to host the delegation. He said the workshop presents an opportunity for positive networking and increased understanding of Parliamentary responsibilities for both MPs and the secretariat.

Head of the visiting UK Parliamentarians, Rt Hon. Baroness Blackstone echoed similar sentiments expressing hope that the seminar would meet its intended goals.

Other accompanying MPs from the UK include Hon. David Mackintosh, Liz Mclnnes and Hon. Lord Oates, whereas Eleanor Bayley is the delegation secretary.

The workshop ends on Friday, 17 February.

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