Government has decided to revisit the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) and to legislate it. This, according to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, is because government has realised that voluntary corporate social responsibility measures are not as effective as they should be.
“NEEEF consists of policies designed to restructure the private business sector through empowerment pillars that are aimed at addressing a variety of needs of the previously disadvantaged persons,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Wednesday evening during the Old Mutual Foundation’s 15th anniversary gala dinner.
These empowerment pillars include ownership; management, control and employment equity; human resources and skills development; entrepreneurship development; marketing and access to finance; community investment; as well as technology and innovation.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila explained that the framework uses a scoring system to measure the degree to which enterprises empower previously disadvantaged Namibians on these pillars. “NEEEF shall be obligatory to all enterprises and government will use relevant regulatory, licensing and market mechanisms at its disposal to create strong incentives for participation,” she added. These, she noted, will include, but will not be limited to public procurement, work permits, access rights to natural resources (such as fishing, mining, hunting concessions, etc) as well as issue of business licences, trading, telecommunications and financial services.
“Government expects all businesses to proactively embrace the national transformation framework and participate wholeheartedly in its implementation. The NEEEF recognises that there may be differences in approach between the different sectors of the economy due to their different characteristics and strategic importance. It, therefore, makes provision for prescribed sectoral charters that will make sector-specific requirements in accordance with parameters provided in the Score Card,” explained Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
NEEEF’s initial objectives included ensuring the sharing of Namibian resources on an equitable and sustainable basis, creating a socially just society, implementing measurable policies of redress and redistribution and creating vehicles for empowerment, just to mention a few. At the same event, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also expressed concern that many reforms initiated in the financial sector are lagging in terms of implementation. “I therefore urge the sector to forge ahead earnestly with the implementation of the commitments made under the Financial Sector Charter and the Financial Sector Strategy to restructure the ownership and management of the sector and improve access to affordable quality services for local businesses and individuals,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
She further noted that the reforms are crucial as the financial services sector touches the life of each and every Namibian.
“It enables economic growth, job creation, the building of vital infrastructure and sustainable development for Namibia and her people.
“Many Namibians still do not have access to suitable financial services. Not only does this inhibit economic growth, it also keeps people trapped in poverty,” concluded Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.