Teach and empower our people

Dear Editor,
Our country would benefit more from the implementation of the philosophy taught by the old Navajo proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This philosophy strengthens our people while ensuring that future generations have the knowledge to improve the financial independence of their families. Less reliance on the government for handouts that may or may not be there in the future will help our villages become stronger through the increase of self-reliance stemming from skill development that will generate economic activity at the local level. Whatever comes from the government in addition to strong infrastructure, access to finances, good health care and access to export market contracts is icing on the cake.
All economic activity is sustained best via entrepreneurial activity that is nurtured and enabled by the Government. This will also increase employment, ensure increased use of local resources, increase innovation, and increase value creation via a strong multiplier in wealth generation. The local content approach being taken provides an opportunity to strengthen skill development. Some have argued that the government should not hand out funds to the population.
If economic theory holds true, then the multiplier effect from providing access to finances will increase economic activity and strengthen the local economy. The reduction in imports will have to play a role in ensuring the local economy benefits from the increased spending, otherwise, the economic multiplier will have a stronger impact overseas.
As the government develops local infrastructure, the simultaneous capturing of export contracts in areas such as furniture, agricultural produce, fishing, food products and clothing becomes more important. These are just a few examples, but as local skill development increases with enabling infrastructure the value-added products ready for local and export consumption will also increase. As these value-added products increase, the government’s priorities must shift to ensuring international standards are met via the implementation of a certification process that ensures those international standards are met.
As more suppliers become certified, access to confirmed supplier contracts will be essential to ensure demand is generated and accessible. The government’s role in guaranteeing this occurs via trade agreements has to be a top priority going forward for demand generation to precede investment and supply generation. We must shift the mindset from build it and they will come to tell me what your future needs are and we will supply you with a guaranteed long-term contract.
As this path of economic development advances, it must be accompanied by a non-corrupt, transparent bidding and supplier selection process. The government must play a stronger role in this process by using the economic philosophy that best suits our culture and stage of development. Assigning a minimum number of suppliers for each contract will also ensure supply risk is reduced and that local economic activity is not restricted.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee