The Namibian diamond industry faces various challenges such as longer production cycles, bureaucracy and high labour and production costs in comparison to other cutting centres.
The Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC)’s Chief Executive Officer Shihaleni Ndjaba said in a statement on Friday that outdated legislation further compounds the challenging market conditions that the industry is currently facing.
“Despite these challenges, NDTC has achieved significant milestones in 2012 and through the skills, knowledge and unequivocal dedication and commitment of employees, NDTC has contributed to the production of consistent, accurate and quality right first-time assortments for the about 1.6 million carats of Namdeb Holding’s 2012 total annual production,” he explained.
Ndjamba said the NDTC has paid out N$ 80 million to its shareholders this year, bringing the total dividends paid over the five-year period to a whopping N$700 million.
The company has also paid out N$ 620m to the government for the period 2007 to 2011.
Ndjamba said the company grew from N$ 6.5b to an all-time high of N$ 7b in 2011.
However, 2012 proved to be much more challenging for the NDTC and the Namibian diamond industry.
The business environment is being impacted negatively by uncertainty created as a result of the volatility in the exchange rate, particularly the Indian Rupee/United States dollar, the protracted Eurozone crisis, a slowdown in demand in China and India, and a general lack of liquidity.
“This is further compounded by the amount of midstream rough and polished stocks in the pipeline, resulting in reduced demand for new rough stones in the short-term from NDTC sightholders (clients), with total sales to local cutting and polishing companies estimated at approximately N$ 1.5 billion for the 2012 calendar year, decreasing by approximately 7 per cent when compared to total sales of N$ 1.6 billion for 2011,” the CEO said.
He stressed that the overall accuracy of the assortments that optimised the value of diamonds and effective staff training and development had remained a key leadership and managerial focus, in addition to the provision of quality leadership to ensure that employees perform to their best potential, and any performance gaps are eliminated.
Ndjamba said the NDTC is furthermore 100 per cent localised, and 86 employees are Namibians, who have acquired unique skills through hard work, dedication and loyalty.
In April 2012, the NDTC entered into three-year agreements with 12 Namibian cutting and polishing factories.
The three-year supply agreements are at the core of the Namibian Government’s objective of promoting value-addition activities of Namibian raw materials, and underpin one of the NDTC’s primary objectives, which are to facilitate the creation of a sustainable diamond cutting and polishing industry in Namibia.
Ndjamba said through these three-year supply arrangements, the company has facilitated the creation of approximately 1 300 jobs in the Namibian cutting and polishing industry.
The local cutting and polishing factories have also fully embraced the notion of skills’ transfer, with effective skills’ transfer taking place at all levels of diamond production.