Re: Ramatex Closure – Time to face Some Home Truths
The poignantly surprising and the unexpectedly abrupt closure of the Ramatex business unit has, no doubt, cast a dark gloom over thousands of Namibian families. However, what stupefies me the most is the wholly unwarranted lambasting of the Namibian government, in this regard, from all quarters.
A brief perusal of any newspaper, over the past few days, reveals various levels of criticism against the government on grounds of mismanagement of the entire matter. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out some basic truths to these self-appointed cynics of the government.
For a moment, please cast an overall glance around this country.
Geographically speaking, it’s undeniably the most beautiful country in the world. Nevertheless, such beauty alone doesn’t fill stomachs. For that you require food which in turn requires money or an income-generating capacity.
Given the poverty levels in our country and our inadequate resources for investment, it is but inevitable that we solicit foreign investment in order to keep a substantial portion of our populace employed.
The government thus provides employment to thousands of Namibians.
OK, the argument is that the government and the City of Windhoek bent over backwards to accommodate Ramatex by providing various tax and other concessions. As I mentioned before, take a close look at our country.
Take a close look at our scarce resources, our largely unskilled/semi-skilled workforce, our high cost of living, etc. and tell me one thing, why should a foreign business entity invest millions in our country, without any incentive?
If there was no incentive on offer then they could have invested in any other country in Africa. No matter what the consequences are, of their investment in such other country, one thing is for sure, thousands of our citizens would have remained unemployed and suffered in poverty.
Look, understand one thing, these foreign business houses are not here for any sort of munificence. They are here for profits. Period.
If they can’t generate profits here, they’ll move to some other country. Rather than slamming them for their greed or parasitical nature, look at it from our point of view. We need them more than they need us because we have families to feed and bills to take care of. Remember, beggars can’t be choosers.
We can only dictate terms to a limited extent. If it wasn’t Ramatex, it’d be some other entity. The name would be different but the end result would be the same.
If the foreign investor feels that he can’t make any profit on Namibian soil, he’ll pack up and move to some other country but where does it leave us Namibians? We’d be back to the same old hunger and suffering.
Since we’re desperate to see our workforce employed and to have the proverbial chicken in every pot, we’ve no choice but to bend over backwards to accommodate such investors.
This is exactly what the government did in its endeavour to give the Namibian people a chance to survive. Look, it’s easy to sit back in an air-conditioned office or house and criticize the government for ‘faulty’ policies but for the common man on the streets, the induction of Ramatex into the Namibian environment was a glimmer of hope for a happy future.
In a developing country like ours, employment is a major factor governing our lives. It not only helps feed our families in this harsh world but also ensures that our youth stay away from undesirable or anti-social activities.
So, if the government and/or the City of Windhoek go out of the way to appease a potential investor in order to bring some light in our lives, then what’s wrong with such an act?
Then, there’s the case of environmental damage caused by Ramatex with the tacit support of the government. On a personal level, as long as I’m comfortable in life, I’m all for environmental protection and all those sort of things but, don’t be surprised by my reaction if you leave me hungry on the streets and tell me that any endeavour on my part to eat a piece of bread will cause environmental damage.
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