The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairperson for the northern regions Tomas Koneka Iindji has urged lawmakers to ensure that the reviewed procurement bill would greatly benefit local business people.
When addressing a NCCI branches leadership meeting on Friday at Ongwediva, Iindji said while the procurement process is currently undergoing review and modernization, parliament must ensure that the new process gives equal access to tenders to all capable Namibian businesses.
“This equal access will promote small businesses and narrow the income inequality gap that heavily favours only those with the most resources and the most connections,” he said.
Iindji further called for the urgent finalisation of the Namibia Investment Act as it would give Namibia a competitive advantage on the world stage by attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). He maintained that investors need to feel confident in their investments and be courted in a manner that sparks additional FDI.
“NCCI plays a crucial role in this courtship and ensures that the business interests of all Namibians are considered. In both cases, we must highlight the Growth at Home Strategy and put in place provisions that encourage local procurement and a level playing field for SMEs, and for the previously disadvantaged people, youth and women,” said Iindji.
He further encouraged all northern retail operators to join the Namibia Retail Sector Charter (NRSC) as signatories.
By so doing retail operators through the NRSC will have a tremendous opportunity to influence policy, promote economic development and support the Growth at Home Strategy.
One of the objectives of the charter is to facilitate and ensure that locally produced goods find their way onto the shelves of retail outlets.
Iindji said that this year the NCCI northern chamber will continue to engage and work with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development and other line ministries on projects to promote the Growth at Home Strategy, improve the relationship with stakeholders whether being local, regional, or national authorities including law enforcement agencies, while promoting the formalization of the economy.
“We need their visible support and active participation in this. Retailers who support government are fine; and of these we have plenty of good examples. Those who don’t are expected to cooperate. The Namibian retail charter is expected to lay out principles and targets which will ensure greater access for locally produced goods into the retail market, thereby enabling domestic economic growth, increase employment creation and capacity creation for Namibian producers, and boost the economy,” said Iindji.
Because consumer spending continues to increase in Namibia, the business sector needs to ensure that local retailers are capable of meeting the rising need. This, according to Iindji, would prevent consumers from looking outside Namibia’s borders for products and services.
Furthermore, Indji maintained that the NCCI fully agrees with President Geingob’s sentiments of the urgency in the fight against poverty.
Poverty eradication is a shared responsibility, according to Iindji, thus all stakeholders in the economy, including government and the private sector, should religiously contribute to the fight.
“With a very small population and a growing gross domestic product one would have expected poverty levels and inequalities to have fallen sharply by now in comparison to the position we had at independence,” he said.
“The dialogue between the government and business sector which we propose to take a center stage in the activities of the NCCI during the coming year, should therefore be centered around the creation of a common understanding and strategy for poverty eradication through sustained economic growth and diversification of economic activities,” he said.