By Anna Ingwafa
The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) initiative Project Efundja that aims at helping the flood-hit towns was launched last week Friday at Oshakati with an overwhelming positive response from different companies.
About 20 companies donated different types of materials, money, food, chairs, tents, paint and transport and some offered their personnel to take part in the re-gravelling of Eliander Mwatale road in Oshakati and to paint the Ehenye School which was severely hit by floodwater.
Welcoming the volunteers, the mayor of Oshakati Katrina Shimbulu expressed gratitude and appreciation to NCCI for taking a proactive step by assisting those affected by floods.
As a result of the floods, about 1 000 households have been affected and their occupants relocated to settlement centres in Oshakati and Ongwediva.
Many businesses were forced to close down, municipal infrastructure has been damaged and is in a bad shape while epidemic diseases have affected people.
“Witnessing the tangible assistance in re-gravelling the road and repainting Ehenye Primary School is a clear demonstration that NCCI and its members complement and add value to the efforts of the Government.
“NCCI and its members’ willingness to support us and our activities, especially at this time, when regions in general and Oshakati town in particular have been hard hit by the floods, undoubtedly keeps your good name in the historic context of unique co-operation, a bond of partnership and brotherhood assistance,” said Shimbulu
The mayor said the NCCI had put business people on the world business map.
She urged NCCI to advise council on local economic development opportunities and how to realize these opportunities.
Shimbulu called on all other companies to emulate the example of NCCI to support those who are in need.
Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa also briefed the chamber and co-partners on the damage caused by the floods.
He said people in the informal settlements especially in Oshakati have suffered much in terms of property.
Business activities by small and medium entrepreneurs have come to a halt. “Goods, products and infrastructure are damaged by floods and workers have lost employment. Self-employment among potential entrepreneurs is negatively affected too. Construction of individual houses under the Build-together government programme and shack dwellers’ construction of houses are interrupted as some of the areas where houses were in the process of construction or constructed already are under water.”
The governor called on the Government, business sector, donor agencies and individuals to render material and financial support to project efundja in Oshakati town. “Any helping hand for the implementation process of the project will contribute towards the sustainable development of Oshakati town and the improvement of living standards of our people.
“Together as stakeholders in partnership with the Government, successes in our quest to effect change for the betterment of the living standard of our people is imminent,” Kashuupulwa said.
NCCI Chief Executive Officer Tarah Shaanika said at the launch that the project in future would launch similar projects at Caprivi, Ohangwena, and Omusati regions.
Shaanika encouraged people to respond positively, “the same way we responded to the railway project should be the same way we should respond to natural disasters such as efundja.”