By: Rodney Pienaar
The colossal import bill that Namibia has to take on basic food and commodities that the country could be producing is taking its toll on the state.
These remarks were made by trade and Industrialisation minister Tjekero Tweya, adding that the situation is no longer acceptable as it is not only goods alone but that even services are imported.
“Concerted efforts by both public and private sector are not needed today but were needed as in yesterday already. It is our conviction that much progress is to be achieved if we treat the private sector as a stakeholder rather than an adversary on this matter. The private sector has and is developing goods and services for both local and export amidst the colossal imports and their economies of scale advantages.”
“There are many goods and services being produced locally such as poultry, wines, chocolates, plastic products, sanitary products, cosmetics, arts and crafts products even in the face of big imports. In order to ameliorate the situation we have to look at both hard measures and instruments within our remit, as well as other softer approaches such as stimulating innovation and ensuring market access,” Tweya said.
The ministry is consumed daily by this matter, he said, “We can also not discount the work by stakeholders such as Team Namibia. However if we have to ensure effective reduction of the import bill we will have to institute a mandatory retail charter, a Buy Local Policy and an industrial policy that is revised and with local content requirements preferences.”
“I agree fully that we need to apply new technologies to substitute energy imports with energy sources available in the country to this end our ministry in support of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap as well as in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, was instrumental in ensuring the creation of Southern African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREE) which is a SADC institution,” said the minister.