Govt accused of favouring foreign businesses

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-The northern business community has accused the government of giving preferential treatment to foreign companies at the expense of locals.

The chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch, Tomas Indji, thus gave the government a warning to act against such preference.

“Lawmakers and politicians should come out strongly and tell us if we must do business or leave the business to foreigners, because we can see that we can talk but no one is listening, and they pretend not to see what is happening,” said Indji.

Indji made the remarks at an engagement with the Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein at the end of last week in Ongwediva.

He said that although foreign direct investment is needed it should be confined to businesses and industries where capital-intensive set-ups are required and where Namibians still require industry knowledge and skills development.

“We cannot have a situation where Namibians will find themselves enslaved to foreign-owned businesses and owners who have infiltrated the local economy without substantially developing and contributing agendas towards the bigger Namibian future interest,” said Indji.

“If Namibian businesses are not protected from such foreign-owned business establishments that compete directly with local and traditional businesses then our own businesses will find themselves struggling to sustain themselves,” said Indji.

Schlettwein in response said that the government is looking into ensuring that Namibian-owned businesses get preferential treatment.

Schlettwein also said the government will tackle medical aid fraud as part of its measures to reduce expenditure and increase revenue.

While the government has settled all its debts the Public Service Employees Medical Aid Scheme is highly infested with unregistered members who are being treated fraudulently from the fund and as a result are milking government coffers dry, he added.

Schlettwein said the government would continue to realign expenditures from areas where they are not necessary to priority sectors which will aid in alleviating poverty.
This includes cuts in subsistence and travelling allowances and construction of infrastructure.

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