President Hage Geingob has finally disclosed in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the 25% shares requirement for previously disadvantaged Namibians in the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework has been removed.
The clause for companies owned by those who benefited from the colonial past to cede 25% of their shares to poor Namibians had been a long subject of debate and government seem to have buckled under pressure.
“Let me use this opportunity to put the equity pillar of NEEEF into perspective. The 25 percent equity stake will not translate into broad-based empowerment and is done away with.”
“Professor Roman Grynberg recently made a valid point, most Namibians, especially the previously disadvantaged do not have enough resources to invest in empowerment transactions, nor are they able to obtain access to funding to participate in such transactions,” said the president.
He however indicated that inclusive broad-based empowerment will have to be realised within the light of employee share schemes.
“I encourage such an approach,” he said while also expressing his support by workers’ unions to introduce a national minimum wage.
Geingob also said focus will go to the provision of decent housing through housing schemes, introduction of a national pension fund and introduction of pension schemes to empower the economically disadvantaged.
He said the focus will be placed “on the plight of farm workers, domestic workers, women, the youth and all disenfranchised Namibians”.
He indicated that some sectors such as mining are particularly capital intensive and come with huge risk during the exploration phase.
Outcomes from the NEEEF consultations were presented to cabinet in February 2018, for deliberation and the Office of the Prime Minister will provide feedback to stakeholders, on the cabinet decision in May 2018.
The Bill will be tabled in Parliament before the end of 2018.
Meanwhile, the highly expected second land conference is now set to take place in the first week of October 2018, the president revealed.
It will debate the willing-seller, willing-buyer principle, ancestral land claims for restitution, expropriation in public interest with just compensation, as provided for in the constitution, urban land reform and resettlement criteria and the veterinary cordon fence.
“The land question remains a vexing, complex and emotive matter. The “willing buyer, willing seller principle” adopted after independence by Government has not produced the required results,” Geingob said.