ONGWEDIVA - It is still an uphill struggle for local businesses to find a market for their goods and services, but prospects for employment look good, according to the 2012 Namibian Business and Investment Climate (NamBiC) Survey.
The NamBiC survey results announced at Ongwediva last Friday concluded that low demand for products and services, the shortage of skilled labour and the cost of utilities like water and electricity are the three major factors stifling formal and informal businesses.
Low demand especially hurts micro-enterprises and informal businesses, especially within the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, the NamBiC report further stated. NamBiC reached the conclusions after surveying 446 local businesses of all sizes countrywide and across the spectrum last November and December. In addition, business owners who responded to the survey conducted by the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and the Namibian Manufacturers Association (NMA), took a more cautious approach towards investment.
In terms of general economic conditions, the survey indicated that 60 percent of all businesses invested in one form or another during 2011, compared to 56 percent in 2010. However, only medium and large enterprises intend to invest slightly more than average during 2012, while all other companies intend to invest below average.
Speaking at the event, Governor of the Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa said although the survey does not give an indication of the actual number of large enterprises intending to invest, there is good news for the labour market in terms of employment creation prospects.
“I notice that one of the results is that the private sector has indicated and there are expectations to employ more people and hopefully to reduce the high rate of unemployment in Namibia,” Kashuupulwa said.
The survey further indicated that 40 percent of the respondents showed that they increased their workforce during 2011 compared to only 8 percent that retrenched workers.
More companies expressed their intention to increase their workforce this year (2012). In spite of this overall optimism, according to Klaus Schade of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), responses by businesses in some sectors were very low.
“I hope that the survey results will encourage other business to respond positively when we conduct the next exercise,” he said.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula launched the survey officially in June.