NEEEF bill will drive away investors
The Secretary General of Namibia’ s Employers Federation (NEF) Mr Tim Parkhouse has stated that the New Equitable Economic Empowerment framework (NEEEF) that has been approved by the National Council is an impractical bill which cannot be implemented effectively and will have negative effects on the country’s economy.
In a recent interview the Secretary General said that although the bill will not affect his federation, it will have an impact on its member companies as it will be cumbersome for companies to find persons with the relevant expertise and finances to take up a portion of shares as stipulated in the Ownership Piller of the NEEEF bill. “How will the average citizen which does for example domestic work afford to buy shares in a company? We cannot simply give away shares” Packhouse stated.
It was further expressed that it is constitutionally incorrect that legislation can force an entrepreneur to take in partners as it goes against the right to Freedom of Association. With regard to economic considerations, the Secretary General raised concerns that government must be cautious not to harm the country’s economy with legislations, stating that serious foreign investors would be hesitant in inviting unknown shareholders and would thus take their money elsewhere.
Parkhouse said “we believe in the matter of fronting (window dressing), as the bill is another evasive piece of legislation which will inevitably enrich the elite.” He further elaborated that nepotism and self-enrichment will happen irrespective of attempts to regulate and control it and if enacted the bill will do nothing to benefit the poor but will only encourage the wealthy and well connected to use their leverage and increase their wealth.
With regard to alternative measures that can be enacted, the secretary general said that Africa should reduce red tape and bureaucracy, adding that Namibia should concentrate on education skills and development. “We must unlock the reserves collected by the NTA training levy and streamline the claiming and refund system. We suggest that the development of a National Apprenticeship Scheme be fast-tracked” suggested Parkhouse.
Moving on, a comparison to South Africa’s Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment bill was made and it was stated that passive shareholding has not worked out for South Africa and the bill has negatively affected economic growth, job creation and halted racial reconciliation. Parkhouse urged Cabinet for an in-depth socio-economic study on the practicalities of the proposed bill and the long-term effects it would have on the economy of the country.