By John Ekongo
Changing business patterns and a competitive edge prompted the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) to re-focus itself on taking on a new role of a network organization that enhances business development support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
According to the JCC, this came about following a professional evaluation and review programme with the board feeling that perhaps it was time for change.
The JCC came into existence in 1995 as a policy development forum.
Henceforth, it exists to provide services to small and medium enterprises given the fact that they are the backbone of the Namibian economy and thus need to be supported in line with the development goals in NDP3 and Vision 2030.
This was made public yesterday by the organization at its re-launch ceremony. JCC Board Vice-Chairperson, Margareth Hausiku, amplified that new trends in the sector have given rise to the repositioning of the JCC.
“We saw the need to transform from a member-based organization to a network-based entity, in order to fit in well with our new role.”
In a statement delivered on his behalf by senior ministry official Steve Motinga, Trade and Industry Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko said: “Business development services play a very crucial role in SME development, therefore SME’s will only be able to improve as we empower them.”
The Ministry of Trade as a line ministry responsible for boosting trade and economic development has placed programmes in place that are specifically targeted at small and medium enterprises development. However, in order to implement it successfully, it needs entities like the JCC.
“We are not an implementer, but are there to create an enabling environment,” remarked Ngatjizeko in a statement issued by his office.
The small and medium enterprise sector countrywide is said to have an estimated 20 percent of the total Namibian workforce with an estimated 12 percent contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country per annum.
JCC’s partners include government ministries and agencies, local authorities and regional councils, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, institutions of higher education, private and public finance institutions, international development partners and business representative organisations.
It is also renowned for its prestigious Sam Nujoma Innovative Entrepreneurs Award (SNIEA), whereby it awards exceptional SME entities that have made a commendable mark and improvement in the business sector.
Previous winner of the award is Rent-A-Chef Catering Company under the mantle of professional and celebrity chef Jonah Levi, and Twapewa Mudjanima-Kadhikwa of Pewa Beauty Products.