Investment Bill on the cards

Parliament will soon deliberate on a Bill which will monitor foreign investors who come to Namibia annually, The Villager has established.

The Bill, crafted by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, is in the finalisation stages and will seek to track the number of foreign investors who come to Namibia as well as their activities.

Justice Minister Dr Albert Kawana confirmed that the Investment Bill has been approved, adding that it might be tabled at the next parliamentary session.

“You have to wait until the Bill is tabled in parliament, but nevertheless the Minister responsible for that Bill is the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. I cannot speak on it, otherwise I will breach protocol. Make an appointment, and he can tell you the contents of the Bill,” Dr Kawana said when querried further.

Last year, The Villager reported that Namibia attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth N$1 335 883 951.00. This created about 4 621 full-time jobs in the running financial year 2014/2015, which wound up in March 2015.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein told The Villager that, “the new Investment Act which is approved by Cabinet has the provision which mandates them to register foreign investors.”

The investment law is set to track the level of investment in the country, and will ensure that the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC), a department of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development (MITSD), is given the mandate which requires foreign firms to register with it.

The Santanda Trade Forum reports that in 2015, Namibia was ranked by the World Bank, and came in 88th in the classification of ‘Doing Business’, which was a gain of 10 places in two years.

“Namibia benefits from substantial resources (uranium, diamonds, zinc, copper, oil), which attract the majority of FDI. The main countries investing in the mining sector remained, in 2015, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany,” it reported in part.

The Santanda Trade Forum report added that monetary stability is also ensured due to the steady flow of FDI and a properly-regulated banking sector. The Government, which encourages a liberal economy, has had the tendency for several years to favour partnerships between local and foreign companies, such as the State’s company Epangelo Mining, which holds exclusive rights in the future contracts for mining exploitation.

“Namibia has launched very large infrastructure projects in the country (railroads, which will open transportation with its neighbouring countries; the enlargement of the Walvis Bay port; and several mines), all of which will represent important influx of FDI,” the report noted in part.

The African Economic Outlook report has it that political stability and prudent fiscal management have helped anchor Namibia’s high growth rates and poverty reduction efforts. With strong ties to South Africa, the region’s second-biggest economy, Namibia has stronger competitiveness and investment attraction than average sub-Saharan countries.

“However, to accelerate convergence with high-income countries in line with its current National Development Plans, the authorities need to address remaining structural bottlenecks. Work on a new Public Procurement and Public Finance Management law must be speeded up to reinforce economic governance and public sector management. Namibia also needs better regulatory capacity for public-private partnerships to help public sector investment programmes,” the report noted.

The report added that fiscal consolidation, including rationalising public sector wages, should continue to achieve efficiency gains and help attain a more sustainable current account balance. Efforts to enhance education and training quality must thus be stepped up and anti-corruption efforts redoubled to recapture public confidence and strengthen the country’s strong governance record, it said.