Namibian Economics to the point - January 2019 - News - Gondwana Collection


Gondwana's Newsroom

Namibian Economics to the point - January 2019

Avatar of inke inke - 31. janvier 2019 - Economics

Brigitte Weidlich

Some good rains fell during the first days of January but for the remainder of the month rainfall has been scarce. As in December, petrol and diesel prices have dropped again, this time with N$1.00 and N$0.90 per litre respectively. Namibia’s inflation rate was slightly lower in December 2019 and stood at 5.1 percent (November 2018: 5.6%), according to the National Statistics Agency. This was attributed mainly to the lower fuel prices. Namibia’s veterinary authority has stopped all imports of beef and other cattle dairy products from South Africa after a foot and mouth (FMD) outbreak in said county. 

A record number of four large cruise ships with over 7.000 passengers visited Walvis Bay this month, among them the Queen Elizabeth II

Modernised tax system for Finance Ministry 

Namibia’s revenue system has entered the digital era. The Ministry of Finance launched its Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) in mid-January. Individual and corporate tax payers can now file their income tax returns electronically on the Ministry’s website. By April, the current Inland Revenue directorate in the Ministry will be transformed into a semi-autonomous authority, to be called the Namibia Revenue Authority (Namra). Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein said that it was an important step into Namibia’s modernisation efforts in the financial sector.

Schlettwein announced in January that regulations for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) law have been finalised and were gazetted a month ago. “This is an important structural policy reform, enabling the leveraging of private capital and expertise to finance and manage PPP projects and in a transparent manner,” the Minister pointed out. 

After two years of no growth, Namibia’s economy will show moderate growth in 2019, Schlettwein said this month when addressing ministerial officials. “The worst effect of the prolonged recession of the past two years is accessed to be over, with the expectation of moderate growth anticipated this year,” Schlettwein stated.

Sales of new vehicles dropped in 2018

Due to the prevalent economic situation, 1300 fewer new vehicles were sold in Namibia during 2018 than the year before. According to statistics provided by the financial investment company Simons Storm, only 11875 new vehicles were sold last year, a drop of about 11%. For this year, the company predicts a 4.2% contraction for new vehicles sales, also due to consumers borrowing less through instalment credit.  

Wages rise in agriculture sector

The average total remuneration package per farmworker at entry level on a commercial farm now stands at N$3413.00 (about 218 Euros) per month or N$17.50 (about 1.12 Euros) per hour. According to the latest official survey of the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) value of the free benefits is added. These include free housing on farms, free transport of farmworkers children of school-going age to and from schools, free transport of workers and their dependants to clinics and hospitals as well as free keeping of cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys and horses. Farmworkers also receive free water, free electricity and firewood. According to the LPO, the above salary is for farmworkers without any experience. Experienced labourers receive higher salaries. The salary is far higher than the prescribed minimum wage of N$1400 (about 89 Euros) per month.

Salt packaging and distribution plant opens

Salt works at Walvis Bay with flamingoes in the salt pond. Photo: Johan Rothmann.

The Namibian arm of South Africa’s ‘Cerebos’ salt distribution and trading company has opened a N$5 million (about 320.513 Euros) packaging and distribution plant in Windhoek. It receives about 700 tonnes of salt per month produced by the Walvis Bay company Ekango Salt, via train. The salt is then packaged for the local market and exported to Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and some Indian Ocean nations. 

During its inauguration in January 2019, the Minister for Industrialisation, Trade and Small Enterprise Development said Namibia ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA] agreement last November. “This means Africa will very soon open its doors for the free flow and movement of African products and African services throughout the continent creating one big African Market,” Minister Tjekero Tweya said, “this will be beneficial for Namibia.” 

Four cruise ships visit Walvis Bay 

History was made in Namibia’s tourism industry in January 2019, when four large passenger liners with some 7000 passengers visited the port of Walvis Bay simultaneously.

One of the ships was the famous Queen Elizabeth II

First to arrive on 12 January was the 203m long Aida, returning from its four-month world trip and returned to Hamburg, Germany two weeks later on 2 February. A day later the 194m long MS Musica with some 2500 passengers moored along the quay, with the MS Nautica - 181m long – and with 824 passengers following shortly afterwards. Making a befitting royal entry was the biggest passenger ship Queen Elizabeth II - being 294m long - with over 2500 passengers. The ‘QE2’ is doing a 36-day Africa roundtrip. Tourists from all four ships undertook day excursions to Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and the Namib Desert. 

The cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II and three other passenger ships at the port of Walvis Bay. Photo: NamPort

Namibian elected to US conservation body

Trophy hunting in Namibia is an important aspect of the country’s tourism sector. During its annual conference and expo this January in Dallas, USA, the Dallas Safari Club has appointed the president of NAPHA (Namibia Professional Hunting Association), Mrs Danene van der Westhuyzen, to serve on their newly established Conservation Advice Board. This Board was set up for better conservation efforts through hunting globally. Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta also visited the Dallas event. “The appointment of the NAPHA president to this new advisory board is a great honour to us as a country in our on-going efforts to strike a balance between conservation and human development,” Minister Shifeta stated. 

Elephants cause communication breakdown

A rather unusual cause for the temporary breakdown of telephone lines and mobile services was reported by Telecom Namibia in mid-January. “A herd of elephants partially damaged the fibre cable between Khorixas and the Omajette settlement in the Erongo Region”, Telecom Namibia noted in a press statement. The damage left customers in the area without fixed and mobile services. “We apologise to our customers for the disruption caused,” (by elephants), the company stated. The fibre cable was however quite quickly restored. It was not revealed the way in which the elephant herd caused the damage.

Comments are disabled for this post.


Stay up-to-date with our monthly 'Gondwana Tracks' Newsletter Sign up Today