Government to forge ahead with NEEEF

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Edgar Brandt

Windhoek-After much debate in all quarters of society about the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) Bill, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila last week said the government is eager to work with all stakeholders to finalise the bill.

Some objectives of the bill include ensuring the equitable and sustainable sharing of national resources, creating vehicles for empowerment, and removing barriers of socio-economic advancement to enable previously disadvantaged persons to access productive assets and opportunities of empowerment.

“We are forging ahead with the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework Bill. We have taken great effort to work through the framework with extensive consultations held with stakeholders and communities,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at Thursday’s official opening of the Katutura Expo.

She added that NEEEF is primarily designed to serve as an anchor and viable tool for enhanced human capital transformation through deliberate and consultative intervention by involving the majority of the population in the mainstream of the economy.

“Government is already pursuing a range of initiatives that are aimed at breaking the barriers of economic inequality in our country and presenting opportunities for economic empowerment of those who are currently on the margins of the mainstream economy,” she said. However, NEEEF has received stark criticism, particularly from employers, with the president of the Namibian Employers Association, Cor Beuke, stating in a recent interview with the Namibia Economist that if enacted in its current form NEEEF would not empower people at grass-roots level.

“As an alternative to the ownership pillar, an additional pillar needs to be created which focuses on spending on primary education. If a company wants to sell some of its shares then it is still welcome to do so. If they do not want to do so then they need to contribute a certain percentage of their annual profits to basic education.Private industry does not have a problem spending money on this as the multiplier effect (of education) has a positive result on their profits at the end of the day as well. More disposable income means more money to purchase goods and services form the market,” said Beuke in suggesting an alternative to NEEEF’s ownership pillar that would compel businesses to sell a percentage of their shareholding to local empowerment groups.

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