The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) has recommended that local procurement laws and regulations be improved and broadened to incorporate frameworks for local content policy.
This would boost local participation in growing industries like green hydrogen and fossil fuels, according to NCCI President Bisey /Uirab.
He said this would make funding for local businesses to enter or participate in these industries more accessible and easier.
“Local procurement laws and regulations must be improved and broadened to include local content policy frameworks to increase local participation of emerging sectors such as green hydrogen and fossil fuel,” said /Uirab during the first-ever State of Business Address (SoBA) in Windhoek on Monday.
Under the theme “Private Sector’s Ordeals and Triumphs- Paving a Way for Public-Private Partnership”,the NCCI hosted a SoBA which brought together Namibia’s corporate and business leaders, entrepreneurs representing all sectors of the economy, financiers, economists, research and academic institutions.
The forum served as the private sector’s official national dialogue to technocrats and politicians, outlining the most pressing difficulties encountered by investors and enterprises in the country.
SoBA was established with the intention of assuring a group effort from the corporate sector to highlight the seriousness of the issues and strategically sway decisions, actions, or policy reform.
/Uirab said institutional, efficient communication forums must be built, adding that the NCCI fails to understand why the submission to establish a public-private dialogue forum remains unaddressed.
He said the NCCI also suggested that the public-private partnership models be expanded to cover underutilised national assets and the numerous white-elephant projects that the government started years ago but are still idle or in a condition of disrepair.
“There must be less talk and more action on the role of the private sector in making full use of one of the nation’s largest post-independence investments, the Neckartal Dam in the south,” /Uirab said.
The NCCI chief called on capitalised state organisations, like the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), to fulfil mandates promptly and completely.
He stated that the Welwitschia Sovereign Wealth Fund must function in a way that promotes national buy-in and is accountable and transparent.
The chamber president also advocated for the use of renewable energy in agricultural operations.
Furthermore, he emphasised that a nation’s business sector is responsible for creating wealth in its economy, saying that a SoNA serves more purposes than only highlighting problems and worries.
At the same time, he made clear that there is a global trend forming, including industrialised nations that favour and, some would say, deliberately promote protectionism and regionalism.
/Uirab continued by saying that this is a concerning development for smaller open economies like Namibia. Despite this, he said, Namibia has had some degree of success in its efforts to diversify and reposition its economy.
“Although much work remains; value addition is no longer just a talking point. The country has demonstrated that it is open to investment, especially in innovative and novel sectors such as renewable energy on the upper end, and cosmetic production at grassroots level, never losing sight of the importance of broadening our industrial base and expanding the country’s economy.”
Another issue /Uirab noted is the lack of financial support for economic clusters at the vanguard of economic transformation, which is necessary to encourage entrepreneurship and the growth of an entrepreneurial culture.
He stated that the NCCI is worried about how little money is still being budgeted for the productive economic sectors.
/Uirab further pointed out that the fragmentation of the beef industry is detrimental to Namibia’s ability to access new markets and provide acceptable service to already established ones.
“Policy decisions and implementation must be addressed without further delays,” he said.
The NCCI insists that foreigners who travel to Namibia in pursuit of business possibilities should receive the same support as local entrepreneurs and businesses.
Uirab said the NCCI has previously cited the availability of serviced industrial land and access to spaces at government business parks and incubators as obstacles that have been allowed to persist for far too long without resolution.
“Incentives or rebate schemes are commonplace in countries across the world, yet they are absent in Namibia.”