ONGWEDIVA - Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) President Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun says the private sector is committed to playing its part fully as the country’s engine of economic growth and employment creation.
The NCCI president said this at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region, whilst addressing a fundraising gala dinner of the NCCI’s northern branch on Thursday night.
According to Namundjebo-Tilahun, the private sector is also committed to investing more and expanding businesses so that the country’s economy can grow at a faster rate, in order to deliver more job opportunities to unemployed Namibians.
“But a number of challenges remain which we must face and address in a fearless manner,” the NCCI president said.
She singled out accessing finance and credit facilities, access to markets and access to land for businesses purposes in urban areas as some of the challenges faced by emerging businesses.
“It is ironic that in a huge country like Namibia with so few people, business people find it difficult to acquire land needed to conduct business activities in our proclaimed areas,” she said.
Namundjebo-Tilahun also noted that local authorities opt to provide land to businesses by auctioning it to the highest bidder, and said she believes the practice of auctioning land to the highest bidder makes access to land difficult for local businesses, if not impossible.
She called on local authorities to stop the practice of auctioning land, since it makes the land expensive and inaccessible.
According to the NCCI president, the government should develop improved policies on urban land, which will make it easier for local businesspeople to acquire land and to expand their businesses.
“How else can you expect business people to expand and grow the economy if you deny them access to land simply because local authorities want to make as much money as possible?” Namundjebo-Tilahun argued.
She commended the NCCI northern branch executive committee, under the chairmanship of Tomas Iindji, and its secretariat, headed by Hertha Munkundi-Uushona for the past 15 years, for being very active and dedicated over the last two years.
Namundjebo-Tilahun said Namibia has a small, open and vulnerable economy with a small population, which makes it impossible to rely on the domestic market to industrialise and grow.
Speaking during the official opening of the NCCI’s one-day 2012 Annual Business Summit held in the capital on Friday, Namundjebo-Tilahun said the country’s industrialisation will, therefore, have to penetrate export markets within and outside Africa, with a high level of competitiveness at the centre of the country’s industrialisation strategy. – Nampa