Post-Tipeeg, during which some N$11 billion was spent, government is a better position to select projects to drive economic growth and employment creation, finance minister Calle Schlettwein has said.
Speaking to journalists at State House on Monday, Schlettwein said government does not regret spending the billions on the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth, but better returns would have been great.
“I don’t regret spending Tipeeg funds but I wish Tipeeg had better returns. I wanted much better productive capacity out of that huge amount that we spent,” he said.
Another thing the minister would have loved to have seen is the creation of more jobs.
“I wanted much better employment figures. We haven’t seen any significant impact. We expected better returns. That was what we wanted but we didn’t get it,” he said.
Through Tipeeg, government intended to create 104 000 jobs over a three-year period, between 2011 and 2014.
The programme has been widely criticised for creating mainly short-term jobs, despite the huge budget. Media reports show that in the three years, Tipeeg created 83 000 jobs of which only 15 829 were permanent.
Asked about the lessons learnt from Tipeeg, Schlettwein said the government is now in a better position when selecting projects.
“We have focused on the logistics hub which is a labour-intensive activity with all the services that are linked to logistics infrastructure,” he explained.
The minister continued: “We are concentrating on economic diversification and productive capacity improvement so that we also embrace artificial intelligence. We have to be aware that many routine jobs will be done by robots.”
To create more jobs, government has shifted its focus to service industries such as logistics, financial and engineering services to address unemployment, Schlettwein said.
“That’s where we believe the replacement will move into. Manufacturing is good, but it is an area that is most risk-prone for artificial intelligence and robotics,” he said. - Nampa