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Thursday, March 29 2018 | NEW ERA Inside BUSINESS 15 GIPF will consider MTC shares after “due diligence” From left, Taimi Shejavali (MD: Stanlib Namibia), Martinianus Tibinyani (Stanlib Namibia), Kganya Kgare and Kevin Lings (Stanlib SA) and Hendrik van der Merwe (Stanlib Namibia). Private sector must be major driver of economic growth – Stanlib Edgar Brandt Windhoek Big factor… Namibia’s construction activity declined sharply due to a reduction in capital expenditure, which Stanlib says was one of the major reasons the country experienced a recession last year. The Namibian economy is continuing on a sluggish path, struggling to recover from a recession last year, mainly due to a reduction in capital expenditure that has mostly affected the construction industry. Also, starting to widen with a major factor being a huge public service wage bill. These were the views of Kevin Lings, the chief economist at asset management economist Kganya Kgare, who yesterday highlighted key economic and political signs that are expected to drive the markets and investment landscape in 2018. “Government is struggling starting to widen and this is mainly because of high salary expenditure. The salary wage bill is growing aggressively, which in turn is keeping the Kgare during a breakfast presentation at the Windhoek Country Club. He added that instead of the government being the main driver of economic growth, it should instead focus on creating a conducive environment for the private sector to be the main driver of economic growth. During his presentation, which focussed on the southern African region, Kgare also predicted at least two reductions in the repo rates down to at least 6.25 percent, in order to stimulate economic growth. Minister of Finance Calle the government wants to cut the ballooning public service posts. The public service wage bill for the 2018/2019 budget makes up 49 percent of the total budget, which translates to N.66 billion. A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report stated that Namibia’s economic growth is projected to resume in 2018 as mining production increases, construction activity stabilises and manufacturing recovers before converging to a long-term growth rate of about 3.5 percent. “An expansionary fiscal policy, the construction of large mines and buoyant credit supported growth and better living standards. However, robust growth masked rising macroeconomic vulnerabilities and deteriorating productivity performance. Moreover, structural impediments have contributed to keep unemployment and income inequality unaccept- Namibia Country Report. “GDP sharply decelerated in 2016 and contracted in 2017 as construction in the mining sector came to an end and the government began consolidating. With the economy contracting Union receipts temporarily increasing, the current account cal adjustment, the public debt ratio continued to increase and almost doubled over the last four years, exceeding in 2017 the median of the countries at the lowest tier of investment The IMF report further noted pected to decline, in the absence would remain large and public debt would continue rising and would approach 70 percent of GDP by 2022. Staff Reporter Windhoek GIPF has hit back at media reports claiming that it has purchased shares in MTC and that it will provide partial funding for certain individuals and institutions to also acquire a stake in the lucrative mobile telecommunications company. “GIPF does not operate as a banking institution which however as a pension fund we are allowed by law to make investments which yield returns. Likewise, it is also important to note that we are not aiding government, as the media has been depicting; however we are in talks with the relevant stakeholders that could see GIPF acquiring a substantial shareholding in MTC. This process will follow due diligence to determine if we want to buy the shares which will be based GIPF Manager for gagement, Daylight In a statement released yesterday, GIPF is required under Pension Fund Regulations to invest locally, and a potential investment in MTC could help ing that objective. “We are also of the opinion that should the due diligence feasible it would be a good investment which will be done in our own name and not on behalf added that GIPF will always strive to look for opportunities to invest in high quality Namibian assets, at a good price offering with market-related returns on behalf of its members and current total assets have shown constant growth which is a clear indication that our investment strategy is on the right track and our emphasized. ued that, as a pension fund, GIPF has an obligation to ensure cient funds to cover they become due. As such, the fund continuously strives to invest in various instruments which have income generating properties as well as good prospects for growth. As one of the largest local investors, GIPF stays committed to investing in Namibian assets that meet both the fund’s cial criteria. This is in line with proposed changes which require pension funds to invest a minimum of 45 percent of their assets in Namibia as announced by the Ministry of Finance. Expect more.