“Do the right things properly to succeed,” roared Theo Ben Gurirab, then Speaker of the National Assembly, in 2012.
He was discussing the big problem of income disparity where some citizens have a lion’s share of income in the country. Income disparity in general, and poverty in particular, are not just about income.
You also have to take into account poor health, inadequate education, poor job security – in short, it is about long-term poor economic and social prospects.
For example, it is not surprising that most of the students in the low academic performance category are from low-income families.
The government, in its Harambee Prosperity Plan, decided that policy action is needed to close the income gap, especially for those who live below the poverty line.
It seems the government will need to use solidarity tax measures to balance out this income gap, to strive for some form of inclusive growth.
Taxes fund government programmes to improve the people’s wellbeing. Note that Namibia’s wage share of GDP is below that of high income countries; it is the bigger share of GDP that has allowed wealth generated to trickle down to the wallets of poorer households and to bring about a more inclusive distribution of wealth in these higher income countries.
The words of the 32nd American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, that “the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little”, are a sobering reminder that a big income disparity is a potential social and political problem that must be addressed sooner rather than later.
The ancient Plutarch’s advice that an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailments of all nations is proven with history showing income disparity leading to social and political discontent and friction, which in turn hampers economic and social progress.
Revolutionaries of the struggle like Peter Mweshinge, Pondoleni Shikongo, Moses !Garoeb, Anton Lubowski have their dreams shuttered.
New Era Reporter
2018-11-09 09:23:11 6 months ago