By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Retailers and local manufacturers held their first ever meeting last week to iron out problems that exist between the two groups. While on the one hand some manufacturers say they face difficulties in being accepted as suppliers to retail outlets, retailers also face problems with the quality, availability and consistency of supply of locally manufactured products. Hennie Fourie, Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA) said that while manufacturers say retailers do not want to stock their products, when retailers buy locally manufactured products they found it difficult to get more stock. The manufacturers lamented the fact that procurement for many retailers was largely due in South Africa, ignoring Namibian producers, as well as the fact that brochures are normally printed in South Africa featuring only South Africa products, Fourie said. Other problems mentioned by the manufacturers include high listing fees, lack of communication between head office and its branches where the listing is arranged and also the dumping of products from South Africa. There have been numerous calls especially for the big retailers, most of which have their headquarters in South Africa, to accommodate local products in order to not only ensure economic growth but to also increase employment opportunities. Recently, Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko expressed concern over the massive dumping of goods onto the Namibian market. He said while Namibia had a wide range of manufactured products of high quality, the products were not available on the shelves of supermarkets. The ministry, he added, was inundated with complaints regarding the difficulty of entering local products to the local retail network. A firm manufacturing industry would be the basis for the industry to develop economics of scale and be able to compete on the wider market. The industry also has the biggest multiplier effect of all sectors of the economy because for every N$1 output produced by the manufacturing industry, a total value of N$2.61 is generated into the economy. Therefore, to achieve an economic growth rate of six percent as projected by Vision 2030, the manufacturing sector should grow at a rate of eight percent. The meeting, attended by 22 leading retailers that included Shoprite, Pick ‘n Pay, Game, Agra, Woermann Brock and others, as well as 27 manufacturers, among them Namib Mills, Namibia Breweries, Bokomo and Plastic Packaging, also formed a committee to further investigate the possibility of resolving the issue.
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