Boost Skills and Cut Bureaucracy

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Inge Zaamwani, Managing Director of Namdeb, was at the weekend re-elected president of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) amongst calls on the government to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and address the management and ownership of the country’s economy. Zaamwani said this situation might hamper efficient business operations within Namibia and also with other countries. Already, Namibia’s competitiveness on the world map is dropping due to lack of skilled personnel as well as bureaucracy and corruption. “The perception is that we are increasingly becoming a concern,” she said, adding; “As businesses, we must ensure that these concerns are done away with.” The NCCI President noted that the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy was long overdue and the private sector, the government and other stakeholders should work in partnership to design and implement a BEE programme. This will ensure that the plight of the previously disadvantaged people in Namibia is effectively addressed. “We will from outside continue to engage the government through the Office of the Prime Minister and other Government structures to work towards developing a BEE policy and ultimately legislation to accelerate economic transformation and address inequalities in our society”, she said during the opening of the AGM which also elected J&P group’s John Akapandi Endjala as NCCI’s first vice president and Sven Thieme of Ohlthaver and List as second vice president. The board members are Advocate Vekuii Rukoro (First National Bank), Kauna Ndilula (Bank Windhoek), Valencia Uiras (Standard Bank), Neville Field (GIPF), Dr Rainer Trede (Consultant), Israel Kalenga (Entrepreneur), Jerry Muadinohamba (Motor Vehicle Accident Fund) and Lucia Shipena (NamPower). Another worrying situation is that Namibia has is a high unemployment rate, having risen from 30 to 36 percent of the total number of employable Namibians. For a population of 1.8 million, Zaamwani said the situation could be dealt with much quicker through innovative business ideas from the country’s private sector, with the NCCI serving as a platform to facilitate business ideas through professional business advisory services. “For the private sector to accomplish its duties of generating wealth and creating employment for Namibians, the government is expected to do its part, by ensuring that the economic conditions and business environment within which private enterprises operate remain conducive to profitable business undertakings,” she said. “We must work hard to reduce the budget deficit to manageable proportions of at least three percent or less, raise our economic growth to satisfactory levels and arrest the increase in public debt, which is currently at an appalling rate of 25 percent of the GDP.” Zaamwani, who will head the business body for another two-year term, said Namibian people were longing for some action that will propel the economy to action. To grow the economy to six percent per annum, which is a target that the Cabinet retreat deliberated upon last year, Zaamwani said the three players – the government, the labour movement and the private sector – should work together. “We need proactive methods and homegrown recipes to grow the economy”, she said. Although the country needs informal businesses, the NCCI president appealed to corporate entities in the country to adopt one or two small businesses to help them graduate into medium and large businesses. Some of the NCCI’s challenges include lack of infrastructure at branch level to enable its members access to NNCI services and limited financial resources for the NCCI to sustain itself and also to concentrate on its core business activities such as provision of services.