Walvis Bay mayor has message of hope amidst town’s economic hardship

During an ordinary council meeting Tuesday night, the Mayor of Walvis Bay, Clr. Alderman Immanuel Wilfried had a message of hope to the local economy, which is currently severely pressed by the economic downturn which virtually spares no business, public institution or household. Job losses is the biggest headache.
According to Wilfried a more positive picture is emerging. He referred to the Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, who has cited some recovery in the agriculture and mining sectors, among others. The tourism sector has also seen strong growth.
“There is reasonable optimism that economic activity and outlook for 2017 is better than a year ago. Even despite the sovereign downgrade of Namibia by the ratings agency Moody’s.
One of the strategies to stay afloat during times of adverse economic conditions is to cut spending.The local authority is not immune to these challenges. Therefore as local authority we are pressed to use resources a lot more prudently and effectively than ever before”, he explained.
The Mayor also acknowledged the suffering of many Namibians who after losing their jobs through retrenchments and closures often find it hard to obtain a new job or find other means to earn an income. “Their ability to stay above water could prove to be very tough,” Wilfried admitted.
On job losses in Walvis Bay the past year Clr. Wilfried said some of the factors are unique to Walvis Bay. As the town is relying on the fishing sector, reduced total allowable catches and reduced fish landings are some of the reasons why the fishing sector have to lay off people. At the same time the global economic downturn also result in other economic sectors in Walvis Bay seeing a downturn. Marine industrial engineering and ship repairs are examples where foreclosures occurred this year with resultant job losses.
Clr. Wilfried assured the municipal council and the municipal administration will continue to do its utmost best to maintain a favourable environment for investment and growth in the town. “We will also continue to support SME development through various procurement measures and other opportunities”, he said. Public procurement is a powerful tool to maintain job creation momentum in Walvis Bay and assist to counter balance large volume job losses as the harbour town experienced in the last year.

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