By Anna Ingwafa
Several business people from Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena had a closed door meeting with President Hifikepunye Pohamba at Pandu Lodge in Ondangwa recently.
Local business people made the request through the Deputy Minister for Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Pohamba Shifeta, to meet the President to air their grievances about the Investment Act.
The Acting Chairperson of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NCCI) in the north Josef Kapia Endjala briefed the Head of State about the need for the Act to be scrutinized. The business people want the Act to be looked at thoroughly in order to eliminate loopholes that they believe exist in it.
“Direct Foreign Investment should not be used as a catalyst for foreign investors to acquire everything, including land, at the expense of Namibia’s own investors, though we may appear minute in the eyes of the foreign investors,” said Endjala. The group appreciates the adoption of a ‘free market’ economy as one of the strategic economic policies. “However, it is regrettable, discouraging and very ironic indeed to see government and local authority tenders being awarded to foreign owned companies’ day in and day out.
“This practice does not only vibrate negative energy throughout the Namibian business community but it also discourages and eventually kills our industries as we are always competing with stronger companies, most of which are subsidized by their respective governments back home,” stated the business group. The group acknowledges that Namibia is one of the prosperous nations, though its natural resources are not essentially put to good use. The chamber feels that the country’s resources are not put to good use in order to yield tangible results for the benefit of all Namibians.
The group wants to initiate a national dialogue as a policy initiative to complement those that are already in existence in order to discuss and accumulate various views of all economic role players, more especially those from small and medium enterprises.
“It is common knowledge that all the stronger economies in the world today were developed from the SME sectors.
“We should therefore grow our own economy from the grassroots in order to have a stronger economic foundation,” said Endjala.
Business people congratulated Pohamba and expressed support for him as the newly elected president of Swapo Party during its extraordinary congress late last year where Dr Sam Nujoma stepped down as party president.
Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Dr Malan Lindeque and Deputy Director for Industrial Development for SMEs Mutilitha Kamati were present at the meeting.