President Hage Geingob told exhibitors at the Ondangwa Industrial and Exhibition Trade Fair to refrain from government dependency and rather to focus on pursuing economic success.
He said government dependency should be left to the vulnerable, poor and marginalised members of society such as orphans, children, people with disabilities and the elderly.
“Government has created a conducive environment so that you don’t depend on government; government will help those who are weak and poor,” said Geingob.
President Geingob made the remarks at the official opening of the sixth Ondangwa Industrial and Exhibition Trade Fair, as well as the unveiling of the N$14 million exhibition centre last Friday. The sixth Ondangwa Industrial and Exhibition Trade Fair started last Friday and ends on Saturday. A record 151 exhibitors are in attendance.
He also called on businesses to familiarize themselves with the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) in order to contribute towards the nation’s prosperity.
“Trade and industry are part and parcel of that journey towards prosperity. We therefore need to ensure that our industrial activities give us the value we need and provide the necessary impetus to our economy in order for it to grow at the required rate of six to eight percent,” said Geingob.
Geingob said the country’s current growth rate of five percent is not enough to address social and economic deficiencies, hence he appealed to the nation to focus on value addition rather than import and export.
In the same vein the president warned foreign businesses from competing with local traders.
Geingob said foreign investors should focus on investing in the country so that government can collect revenue to develop the country’s infrastructure.
However, Geingob said where there is a need to partner with foreign investors, local traders should embrace such opportunities rather than flock to government for assistance.
Also speaking at the event, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch chairperson Tomas Koneka Indji, who spoke on behalf of the sponsors, said the trade fair is a step forward in addressing low economic growth and the high employment rate.
Indji thus appealed for interventions to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow as well as to create employment.
An estimated 38 000 businesses in the country are classified as SMEs, which contribute at least above 30 percent to the country’s economy.
Mayor of Ondangwa Paavo Amwele appealed to the residents to take the lead in developing the town as well as its local economy.
He said the new exhibition centre would in future attract big events.