WINDHOEK – The Namibian business community bade farewell to President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who would retire on March 21, when the incoming President-elect Hage Geingob would be sworn in as Namibia’s third president.
In his final address to the business community, President Pohamba, thanked the businesses for their “unwavering support rendered to me and the government during the period of my presidency”. He also urged the businesses to give the same support he enjoyed from the business community to the incoming president Geingob.
The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) held a farewell business dinner in honour of Pohamba on Wednesday this week, where they also raised N$350 000 towards the Hifikepunye Pohamba Foundation.
MTC offered to give Pohamba free airtime for life, Standard Bank promised him free banking services while First National Bank of Namibia offered free financial advise on the N$58 million prize money Pohamba won from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
NCCI says the occasion was an “opportunity for the business community to thank Pohamba for his leadership during his term of office and also to welcome the new President-elect [Geingob] and commit to work with him and his team as we look forward to the inauguration of the new government next week.”
“Government relies on the expertise and technical know-how of the private sector to execute projects such as the construction of roads, houses, schools, clinics and other public facilities,” said Pohamba at the dinner.
He said the public procurement regulations have been amended to enable small and medium enterprises to participate in the public procurement system.
“I wish to emphasise that it is critical that the private sector implements the public projects on time, within the approved budgets and in line with the required standards,” he said.
NCCI president Sven Thieme pledged that the business sector would support Geingob unconditionally, saying “we pledge to do our part as businesses and we have no doubt that the incoming government will do their part”.
“We would like to pledge our unconditional support to our incoming Head of State, Dr Geingob. The partnership between the government and the business sector in driving this economy into a higher gear must continue. The challenges facing our economy require joint initiatives and a common vision by both government and the private sector,” said Thieme.
Under Geingob’s leadership, Thieme said the business community is in safe hands because of his practical approach to governance and his leadership abilities.
He also lauded Pohamba on the award bestowed upon him by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
“We undoubtedly believe that such recognition is not misplaced, it was given to the right person and we are all excited about such a great honour,” he said.