The private sector has indicated that access to policymakers on time is their main recommendation to the government in the journey of economic transformation.
In his State of Business Address (SoBA) delivered yesterday, the President of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Bisey /Uirab said,”turbulent times require timely decisions.”
/Uirab indicated the need for the formalisation of communication channels between the policymakers and the private sectors to share “best practice and experience sharing, and to strategise on how best to deal with challenges and opportunities that would lead to improved competitiveness of Namibia’s economy”.
/Uirab highlighted that representatives of the business sector regularly voice concern about the unavailability of policymakers and public officials to engage, and their non-responsiveness to written communication.
“This is not the behaviour one expects and the NCCI calls for immediate remedial action,” he said.
He stressed the importance to established institutional, effective communication forums.
“NCCI fails to understand why the submission to establish a Public-Private Dialogue Forum remains unaddressed,” he lamented, adding that “we all – business, government, labour and civil society – have one common goal, which is to grow and transform the Namibian economy to be inclusive, sustainable, and address inequality and unemployment”.
/Uirab underlined that there is no place for fragmentation among participants in the economy, neither is there any room for ineffective or garbled communication within the economy.
According to the NCCI, and based on the responses received from sectoral representative bodies and entrepreneurs, a need for improved communication between the private sector and policymakers, has became abundantly imperative.
He said the absence of a forum to track the implementation of policies, processes and interventions merely retards economic growth.
“Let’s face reality, Namibia is sailing in such turbulent waters, thus, we need to adopt a collective approach to navigate stormy waters,” he indicated.
The Chamber President acknowledged that the country has achieved a measure of success on its economic repositioning and diversification journey, although much work remains.
However, he added that the country will fail in its endeavour to grow the country’s economy unless it focuses its attention on skills development and technological innovation.”In parallel, we require business friendly policy measures that will support the integration of new sectors,”he added.
/Uirab said the only way forward when it comes to growing Namibia’s economy at three or four times the percentage achieved over the past three decades is through collaboration between the government and the private sector.
He highlighted the need for government to support local entrepreneurs and enterprises by giving the same attention and support as accorded to foreigners who come in search of business opportunities.
Among the serious concerns raised in the SoBA are the availability of serviced industrial land and access to units at government business parks and incubation centres, as well as the lack of incentives or various rebate schemes.
He said policy delays and implementation of recommendations are detrimental to the needed progress.
“There is an observed lack or sense of urgency when it comes to policy amendments and drafting of bills,” he lamented.
/Uirab said, through the NCCI, the private sector offers to support the public sector should inadequate human resource or technical skills be the cause of such delays.
The private sector has recommended for the local procurement laws and regulations to be improved and broadened to include local content policy frameworks to increase local participation in emerging sectors such as green hydrogen and fossil fuel, as well as availing and facilitating funding for local enterprises to participate in these sectors.
/Uirab also called for the finalisation of the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act (NIPFA) to provide the much-needed policy certainty.
The Chamber President further recommended for the country to make full use of one of the nation’s largest post-independence investments, Neckartal Dam in the south.
At the same time, he called for the capitalisation of state entities, like the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), adequately to deliver timeously and fully on mandates.
As for Welwitschia Sovereign Wealth Fund, the private sector has asked for more accountability and transparency that encourages national buy-in.
/Uirab explained that economic growth is directly linked to transformation, and this requires the creation of opportunities for all Namibians to live productive, prosperous, and dignified lives. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org