Windhoek-A business delegation consisting of more than 20 business people from across the country met with President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday and raised issues of concern, including foreign direct investment (FDI), unnecessary red tape in starting a business and job creation.
The delegation, which consisted of individuals from a wide range of sectors including construction, farming, information technology, renewable energy and tourism, was led by Martin Shipanga, the executive director of the Shipanga Group.
In terms of FDI the delegation made it clear they encourage foreign businesses to invest in the country, but suggested that such investments be limited to manufacturing and value addition and not in sectors where locals can contribute, such as retail or general trading.
“Foreign business people should also join hands with local business people to set up manufacturing operations and this will grow the economy and fast-track job creation,” said Shipanga on behalf of the delegation.
Further commenting on job creation, Shipanga called for the enhancement of collaboration between the state and businesses, which he said could significantly increase employment.
“In this regard we as business people commend the government for signing into law the Public Private Partnership Act – and we want to ensure that all businesses can participate to increase employment,” said Shipanga.
The business delegation also called on President Geingob to tackle the “red tape” that makes it difficult for them to register and start operating businesses. Some of the business people alleged that it could take as long as four years to start a business, but economic advisor to the president, Dr John Steytler, said that in Namibia it takes an average of 66 days to register and start a business. However, Geingob stated that this figure should be brought down to one day, as is the case in a country like Singapore.
Steytler also commented on outstanding payments to the local business community. “Everyone in government is collaborating to ensure that all outstanding invoices are settled as soon as possible,” he noted.
“This business group came together and we are visiting State House today to see how we can join hands with the government to uplift the economy. We love you unconditionally and we fully support you and your initiatives. In a space of about two years of your administration we are beginning to see the fruits of your labour and your initiatives,” said Shipanga.
In response Geingob thanked the delegation for their visit and noted that to fight poverty and corruption all Namibians have to hold hands to tackle these issues together.
“Job creation is the biggest problem we have – mainly because we don’t add value to our raw materials,” said Geingob.