There have been agitations by some white business people that they will not support the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) that is being mooted by Government to redress economic imbalances of the past that saw previously disadvantaged Namibians being kept out of the mainstream economy.
The NEEEF aims to have previously disadvantaged Namibians play a meaningful role in the economy in the future but, alas, this is facing reasonable resistance from those that own the means of production. Analysts have also voiced their opinions that there is need for consultation before the NEEEF is implemented, as it could scare away potential investors. According to analysts the NEEEF document, which is still to be finalised, still needs a lot of work before it is passed into a law that has potential to benefit all.
Economic analyst James Cumming opines that the policy needs wide consultation and improvements need to be made to ensure it is done in the best interest of all involved. He also argues that the policy in its current format could scare away potential investors.
In his own words he told The Villager that, “If the NEEEF Bill is going to be implemented in its current form, it is going to chase away investment. People who buy the shares will also be in debt. Economically speaking, I don’t think the country has enough money to buy 25% shares from private companies. Of course government might think of printing more money, but that will come with its own impact as the Bank of Namibia (BoN) will be forced to increase interest rates, which will have a negative impact on the economy as inflation will rise and the consumers will be affected negatively.”
Perhaps taking into cognisance all voices Government needs to find a solution where they go ahead with the NEEEF in a manner beneficial to both the previously disadvantaged and the business community. There is need for a consensus and a way that would see the policy change the economic fortunes of all Namibians including those that control the economy and those that want to control the economy.
It is imperative that the NEEEF is well-debated and scrutinised before it gets to the parliament to ensure that it does not go the ill-fated paths of its predecessors that disappeared from public eye like snow before the sun after being tabled in parliament only to be sent back because of massive loopholes.
Already murmurings can be heard in the public domain, especially from the previously advantaged communities that the government is refusing to accept that it has failed with previous attempts at similar black empowerment programs.
Great care should be taken to ensure that investor confidence is not dented, while those that find them in privileged positions should work hand in hand with the government of the day to ensure that Namibia reaches a stage where the equitable distribution of the wealth of the country does not only remain a dream but becomes reality.
Let sanity prevail and let us debate the proposed law with sober minds to ensure best possible results for all. After all we only have this one Namibia and if we mesh up, we all will feel the pinch.