Birth of Retail Charter announced
The much anticipated Retail Charter was launched earlier this month at a special ceremony hosted by the Namibia Trade Forum and hosted by the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Hon Immanuel Ngatjizeko.
“The National Development Plan 4(NDP4) clearly outlines its objectives for the retail sector. NDP4 mandated the [former] Ministry of Trade and Industry to drive growth in manufacturing and subsequently outlines a need for diversification of locally produced commodities; as well as to increase shelving and availability of locally produced goods” the Trade Forum said in a statement to announce the launch of the Retail Charter.
The charter will lay out principles and targets to ensure greater access into the retail market for local beneficiaries. This intervention will later be used to monitor and assess the impact and its contributions to the “Growth at Home” strategy. It is envisaged that the charter facilitates the creation of a suitable climate for local procurement, stimulation of demand and accompanying growth targets, according to the Trade Forum.
The charter aims to stimulate local manufacturing, facilitate meaningful job creation, reduce unemployment, and deliver enduring changes in consumption patterns.
Three task teams comprising volunteers were assembled for Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Clothing and Apparel, and Building Material and Hardware. Several retailers participated in the process.
The Trade Forum said the relationship with participating retailers is based on dialogue and cooperation.
Regarding the participation by the retail sector, the Forum noted with concern that leading retailers, especially in the clothing sub-sector, have not joined the process. “Due to the voluntary nature of the charter, difficulty with low attendance for some industries have been encountered.”
Consequently, an action plan was drafted to achieve broader participation on the team. The action plan encompasses intensifying consultations with non-participating retailers.
Another concern was the high prices of local products. “In all the consultations a question was always raised regarding the high prices of Namibian products, and if the retail charter is not going to exacerbate this further.”
Finally, the Trade Forum stated that although numerous attempts have been made to contact Chinese retailers through the Chinese Business Chamber in Namibia, they have been ignored.