Planners seek wide buy-in for fifth development plan

The fifth national development plan (NDP5) came a step closer to reality with the launch this week of the official formulation process.
The start of the formulation process was marked by a short ceremony of the offices of the National Planning Commission in the Government Office Park in Windhoek. The commission said the formulation process allows wider consultation on the plan during the first phases with the intention to garner universal support for the eventual NDP5.
“The experiences under NDP4 offer valuable lessons that we must use to improve our development planning as well as the results of the development planning process” said the Minster of Economic Planning and the Director General of the National Planning Commission, Hon Tom Alweendo in the foreward to the White Paper on Drafting the Fifth National Development Plan.
“It is critical that all Namibians own, support, and pursue the NDPs with vigor and enthusiasm. NDP objectives will not be achieved if not everyone pursues them with the required zest. One of the main challenges under NDP4 is that not everyone is working at it with the necessary vivacity and loyalty” said the minister explaining the rationale for the inclusive, consultative process that will precede the final drafting of NDP5.
NDPs are only high-level plans providing a broad framework for different role players in the economy and society. The plan requires all Namibians from all walks of life to work together to make it a success, hence also making the citizens less dependent.
NDP5 will be decentralised and is all-compassing therefore all citizens will be included. A decentralised or participatory economic system reduces the burden on the central authorities who may not have expertise on particular subjects, said the commission in the White Paper.
The Minister of Economic, together with the National Planning Commission will spearhead the teams in all 14 regions to conduct consultations. The consultation starts next week and end in August and the teams will spend a day and a half in each region.
“Stakeholders will also ensure ownership of the NDP5 also taking into consideration the lessons from the NDP4 process as it will be used to redefine the goals and objectives.”
The public can engage the process via twitter, the NPC website or by email to the commission. Further opportunity for public participation will come via radio or TV programmes.
“The public is therefore urged to come forth and use these platforms to contribute to the formulation of the development agenda for the next five years” advised the commission.
The main lesson from NDP4 is that in order to maximize and exploit the national development process fully, all stakeholders must take responsibility of the desired outcomes, therefore opportunities for achieving these outcomes must be build.
‘’Be an agent of change rather than wait for the government, although we all may fear change’’ said Hon Alweendo.
The NDP periods will be realigned to coincide with the government cycles and also take into consideration international and regional development policy frameworks.
The overall ranking of Namibia’s competitiveness has dropped from 63rd to 90th during NDP4, as stated in the White Paper. This means that other countries are improving at a faster rate than Namibia in competitiveness. “The deterioration is across many categories of the index, namely basic requirements, efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication factors.”
“Although the verdict on the overall performance of NDP4 is probably mixed, [it was] a difficult global economic environment with drought conditions that have an impact on the economic activities and the fact that many role players took a while to comprehend their roles.”

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