NEEF champions propose buyouts

Staff buyouts are among the best ways that businesses can benefit from the New Economic Empowerment Framework Bill, the Prime Minister, Right Honourable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amathila said this week, describing her office’s view how best the private sector can benefit from the new equity law.
“Private businesses are a national asset. The incentive of having core employees become shareholders is a good thing,” the Prime Minister said during her officiation of the ownership restructing of the furniture group of companies, Officeeconomix, in Windhoek this week.
The furniture group described its decision to divest a part of its shareholding to its employees in preparation for the new equity law as supporting the government’s efforts to correct economic inequalities.
“We are working hard to conclude our consultation process with all stakeholders,” the Prime Minister commented on Officeconomix’ proactive response to ongoing government efforts to restructure ownership and management for tangible corporate social responsibility. “Balancing a need for diversity against whether the principle [of NEEF] is in the right direction depends on whether the principle [of NEEF] is being embraced by private business.” Kuugongelwa-Amathila said.
The current ongoing regional consultations on the NEEF Bill, the Prime Minister said, will all be taken into consideraton in the process of crafting the appropriate legislation.
She said that businesses and their staff teams can build generational wealth for many households through the soon to be enforced Bill by offering buyouts.
Former Officeconomix CEO, Paul Oosthuizen, is stepping down to Leslie Burger as the new CEO. “There is no window dressing in doing this, Oosthuizen said at the handing over of gifts to his staff members.
The new CEO believes that building the company further means co-operation with the government’s vision.
Expansion of the local economy, the Prime Minister believes, requires the inclusivity of the majority of people to increase the level of competitiveness and productivity of the national workforce.
In the case of the Officeconomix Group of Companies, in existence since 1994 with stock valued at over N$15 million, it will not only empower workers but promote harmonious labour relations, increase workers productivity and promote the loyalty of the workers to the company.
“These types of initiatives where business owners create opportunities for their employees to own part of the businesses in which they work should therefore be commended and fully supported” stated the Prime Minister adding that such initiatives provide an opportunity to staff to gain direct equity ownership of their business and create an entrepreneurial environment. “Do not panic”, Kuugongelwa assured.
“Taking into consideration and evaluating all inputs from consultations will be a feat considering the muliplicity of issues and solutions.” The NEEEF Bill proposes that companies avail 25% of shareholding to previously disadvantaged persons.
Speaking on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister, Eos Capital, a wholly-owned Namibian newly incorporated private equity fund manager that is managing the Allegrow Fund said companies and funders will need to come together to find progressive ways of helping the average Namibian to participate in the ownership of companies.
Furthermore, the management of Eos Capital under the leadership of former Old Mutual Africa Managing Director, Johannes !Gawaxab said that companies will be given time to adhere to the mandatory empowerment pillar which is not an immediate need. “Companies may allocate a portion of shares to their staff and allow staff to buy those shares over time from the dividends the shares receive. Or companies can list on the NSX and allow individuals access to their shares in smaller units and at more affordable prices” Eos Capital suggests.

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