Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer Tara Shaanika has called for Government to come up with the supportive policies if the country is to attain gains from the industrialisation policy.
Shaanika told The Villager that the implementation of the industrialization policy could be hampered in future because of lack of supportive policies.
“The industrial policy will need other policies for it to work. I can say that there are not any policies currently that, are promoting Namibian producers, because if it were up to me the government would stop importing products that can be produced in Namibia,” Shaanika said.
Shaanika added that “Namibia has been very successful with beer and pasta but this took time. Namibian breweries was not established in one day. Namibian beer and pasta are now the preferred products on Namibian shelves but that took time and support both from government and civil society so it can be done with other products”.
He added that, “The manufacturing industry is a very risky business, and it takes a lot of courage to go into and to survive and because Namibian entrepreneurs were not receiving the financial support, they have not been innovative”.
Shaanika’s also corroborated Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa who told parliament government needs to find a way of boosting production and adding value to Namibian products.
“Although the international marketing of Namibia’s agriculture products is relatively well developed with exports destined for markets such as the EU and other markets, the marketing of these products internally has not witnessed a similar development. There has been minimal focus on mainstreaming the development of marketing of agricultural products both in the domestic and international markets. The marketing system in the domestic market are thus fragmented, non-transparent based on the foreign pricing system and does not promote equitable benefit sharing across all role players in the value chain” Mutorwa said while speaking in parliament last week.
He then added that “We will only be able to compete with internal products on our shelves if we cut out the middleman (South Africa) and if we increase production. We would need to multiply production of our products which will have to cater for the local demand and as well as exports if we want to compete with the South African products, that is why we have agencies such as AMPTA for value addition on our products, so we would have to support those” Mutrowa said.
“There is a factory in Cape town that gets its meat from the Oshakati abattoir, which is processed packaged and told back to us. What happens is that we ship the raw material to South Africa, who then furnishes and packages these raw materials and then sell them back to us with a South African brand when these are Namibian products in actual fact” John Mutorwa said.
During consultations with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in Berlin, Germany in 2013 the organization which is the German representative for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that the policy could experience challenges, because of the limited capacity within the Ministry of Trade and Industry (in particular with respect to strategy development and project management). GIZ also said that there is a lack of communication structures within the ministry, and that there is a problem of limited resources or instruments of partner organizations for needs-oriented support for the coordination of the Industrial Policy implementation.
Government and stakeholder role: Industrial Policy
Due to the small population size and the need to benefit from economies of scale, the third principle underlying Namibia’s Industrial policy is that the country’s economic policy will be geared towards openness.
This will ensure market access for domestically produced products and services. Regional economic integration and our World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments towards economic openness will continue to comprise a key element of Namibia’s industrialisation agenda and programmes.