We Shouldn’t Export Our Capital

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THERE are good things happening in the retirement industry – long overdue amendments to regulation 28 are in the pipeline. Considering the fact that this industry is used as the vehicle to export Namibian capital on a daily basis, the need to amend the said regulation 28 becomes a matter of utmost necessity and urgency. The present regulation 28 as it now stands is not in line with the changing needs of our country – the regulation also does not cater for the varied needs of pension fund members. Therefore, the envisaged amendments must not only be addressed setting specific investment limits and ceilings on domestic and foreign investment allocations but also address the requirement that trustees give careful consideration to investment strategies and member choice. The Minister of Finance must be congratulated for making a forthright appraisal of regulation 28 and for identifying its shortcomings and faults despite the narrow-minded comments by the so-called Retirement Fund Institute of Namibia. Instead of supporting the minister’s stand on the export of our capital, they alleged that, inter alia: – Pension monies will end up in the hands of fly-by-night outfits. – The loss of confidence in pension fund saving vehicles will escalate. – Unreasonable expectations will be created among the people. – It is self-defeating and creates uncertainty amongst pension members regarding the safety of their lifetime savings. The above-mentioned arguments fall foul of the fundamental principle that developing Namibia needs a net inflow of capital to achieve higher sustainable economic growth. It cannot afford to become a net exporter of its capital. It is further clear that the Retirement Fund Institute of Namibia as a common voice for local retirement funds has never put procedures and processes in place which are best calculated to ensure that misrepresentations, over-commitment and fraudulent practices are reduced to a minimum, and to identify and eliminate from the industry those who offer questionable business. We have ample evidence that regulation 28 is nothing more than a pie in the sky, as it is not enforced to the letter. Hendrick Christian Box 62258 Katutura