Windhoek-Executive Director at the African Development Bank, Mihe Gaomab II, has it that the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) should not be seen as a racially imbalanced developmental manoeuvre by the government, but rather as an agreed upon instrument to effect the nation’s transformative agenda.
The former Secretary at the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) maintains that the only way to effect the aforementioned transformative agenda is through a gradual, regulatory and distributive transfer of gains.
“We should start with NEEEF. As an economy, we can’t continue (in a situation) where few people, both white and black, gain disproportionately compared to the majority of the population,” Gaomab maintained.
He stressed that NEEEF offers a possibility, not only to ensure broad-based empowerment of Namibian citizens, but also as an essential tool for economic competitiveness.
According to the economist, the past has created economic structures that paved the way for the current injustices.
“That’s why I have always been a strong proponent of the NEEEF. Sadly, those that are meant to benefit from NEEEF are opposing it saying it’s racial and will benefit the elite,” Gaomab added.
Gaomab, who is based in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, did not falter from his stance that Africa’s development will never see a revolutionary change as was the case in Latin America or the Arab Spring.
“In fact, regime changes (in Africa) do not propel economies forward. Just more economic misery and developmental pain,” the economist maintained, adding that there is too much external interests in Africa due to historical trade, investment, financial, cultural and economic linkages.
The draft NEEEF bill has been the source of social outcries, primarily from the affluent sectors of the Namibian society, since its inception in 2010. The bone of contention is the clause, under the ‘ownership pillar,’ which makes it mandatory for 25 percent interest in all white-owned businesses to be sold to previously disadvantaged Namibians. Recently the policy was the source of strain at State House during the visit of a European delegation to President Hage Geingob. Tension, reportedly, rose when the visitors hinted that the implementation of the NEEEF would deter Europeans from investing in the country. This while the policy is still under discussion with no implementation date in sight.
This reportedly angered the President prompting him to question his visitors – particularly the representative from Germany on what his country had to offer to address historical inequalities emanating from Namibia’s colonial and apartheid past among Namibia’s various racial groups.
Meanwhile, New Era has learnt that an inter-ministerial committee was established to review the bill between December 2016 and January 2017. The outcome thereof is yet to be announced.