The City of Windhoek today hosted public presentations for candidates shortlisted for the position of Strategic Executive: Economic Development and Community Services, candidates were given 30 minutes to prepare a presentation on a strategy to ensure the provision of continued sustainable and equitable services to the residents without further burdening the organization financially given that predominantly the department focuses on social services.
The five candidates shortlisted from a total 52 applications which were received for this position are Head of Public Sector Banking at First National Bank of Namibia Leslie Puriza, James Kalundu, Cow Health and Environment manager Mary-Anne Kahitu, Cow Manager of Economic Development Zurilea Steenkamp and Cow City Planner, Vernouman Endjala.
The first candidate to present was Kahitu to who notes that repositioning of the department in the community serves as a catalyst for revenue enhance and economic growth, she says as the department is allegedly a social one and is not expected nor does it bring in revenue but however given the opportunity with the team with council and management support there is potential for repositioning . She says the economic growth would be for the entire city.
This according to her, can be done by to accelerating various strategies and policies as enablers and accelerating the council’s approval on those strategies which increases implementation rate. One strategy she mentioned is the local development strategy and tourisms development , promotion strategy and another she finds important which is the micro medium and small enterprises development strategy that supports poverty reduction, employment creation.
Other initiatives she focused on addressing the high wage-bill, consider right sizing through a systematic scientific approach and wide stakeholder engagement. Deliberate Enhancement of the capacity of the Micro Medium and enterprises in Windhoek , High level engagement, networking and strategic partnerships which she says it will mainly focus on funding and strategic investment
Kahitu further added that accelerating implementation of 5 high impact interventions which attracts investments as which believes has potential to create employment and jobs. Targeted interventions are youth employment and investment promotion, with tourism promotion, stringent debt management , and urban agriculture amongst others.
Leslie Puriza says has ample experience in business development initiatives for SMEs through his experience in industrial financial institutions such the Namibia Development Corporation which he says had a mandate to provide funding for SMEs and provides industrial stalls which are mandatory for operation.
Strategies he presented are poverty, inequality and unemployment which he says are the triple challenges. He says this necessitates, service deliveries to community to solve for the above through subsidized services such as ambulances , fire brigade, disaster and emergency services, parks etc. He maintains that the city should continue to deliver these services without further burdening the city
He says for all this to be sustainably done is by creating an enabling environment that promotes trade , tourism and investments as he says these may indirectly lesson the plight of communities who have otherwise have been relying on the city.
Puriza notes that funds can be raised through optimal utilization of current infrastructures, involving businesses community and stakeholder to invest in projects such as parks. Create funds from portions of sales ervens next to open spaces to fund these open spaces. For continuation of service delivery says lobbying with central Government to tab in additional revenue to fund non-core income generating activities.
Meanwhile Endjala’s, presentation looked at the current state and strategies to be implemented where he noted that currently the city’s state of the parks and sports fields are decapitated, there is a lack of sufficient markets for informal traders , budget and cash flow and a lack of urban agriculture which he says is becoming the buzz word everywhere all local authorities as it assist the unemployed and vulnerable.
Part of the strategies to mitigate this, he said is the need to involve stakeholders that are part of service delivery to assist council in the delivery of services and the government being the biggest contributor to Gross Domestic Product(GDP) with over 31 percent subsequently they can then provide the city with subsidies and grants in order to render some of the services.
Other strategies he touched on is the need for improvement on the collection for services delivered where he says all markers should be on prepared electricity, as it allows the city to supply what is paid for and that improves efficiency, he further stated that urban agriculture activities can produce producers and can be managed by introducing aqua phonics and hydro phonics which uses less water as there is water scarcity.
Mentioned government funding , donor and developmental agencies where he spoke on various donor investment offered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who are willing to fund projects linked to urban agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation.
Zurilea Steenkamp, who is currently employed at the city as the manager of economic development says it critical for council to work towards providing an environment that is conducive for economic development as she says without sustained economical development the city will not be able to achieve their financial developmental sustainability goals.
Proposed strategies are Economic Development, Research and information management, enforcement of policies and strategies, tariffs based on sustainable cost recovery models and markets segments appropriate (efficient service delivery) and infrastructure development.
In additional, in the Health and Environment division by streaming businesses registration process as she says a lot of time is wasted applications thus IT capability needs to be looked into which she says the time that it takes to process the application and the period that revenue takes to come to the city is needs urgent digitalization, further strategies are review of tariffs based on sustainable cost recovery process, facilitating shorter period for environmental assessments.
James Kalundu, strategic areas of focus where youth unemployment which he says he will look at the initiative such as tools of trade to skilled youth, internships, mentorships programs, employment portal for job seekers urban agriculture and creation of a revolving find for youth related projects.
Economic development and job creation he says can be implemented by strategic partnerships, usage of grants, leveraging on levering subsidies and co-sharing in funding hard infrastructure, high impact economic vibrancy.
Sport, cultures and recreation he says by leveraging on 580 open spaces in city, greening the city, taking stewardship of sport facilities, commercialization of spaces and unlocking resources for youth convention centers amongst others
Public health and environment , smart city green economy and emergency services and disaster risk management services .
He says youth unemployment needs to be made a priority thus ways needs to curved on how to curb the issue for sustenance which states that engaging youth in the areas where they do not need more capital investment such as agriculture, he adds that eco-tourism could also be used to curb youth unemployment by training youth as tour guides and in sporting and gaming activities .