Chamber, ministry on NEEEF, Investment Act
It was cool heads last week when the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development, in conjunction with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the business community to discuss the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework and the planned Investment Act.
The Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development is hosting an Investment Conference next week starting on Monday and running until Wednesday . Last week’s consultations were held to gauge the feeling of the business fraternity.
Participants took turns expressing their concerns about the planned New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework and the Investment Act, while the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Tarah Shaanika and the Permanent Secretary of the trade ministry, Gabriel Sinimbo welcomed the comments and assured the partcipants that their voices would be heard.
Executive Chairman of the Hangala Group, Dr. Leake Hangala called for a clear statement on the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework and the Investment Bill, imploring government that the misconceptions needed to be cleared up before the Investment Conference.
Said Hangala “We need a clear statement on NEEEF from the President or the Minister. Something must be done, either before the Investment Conference or during.” He also suggested that leniency with South African investors was required owing to the huge trade between the two countries.
“South Africa is our biggest investor, yet we are harassing them,” he said to nods across the room.
Entrepreneur John Endjala called for the trade ministry to protect Small and Medium Enterprises. Said Endjala, “we must not invite people who will kill SMEs. We must differentiate.” He made the examples of cuca shops and salons and argued that locals were best suited to run small businesses.
Banker Steve Galloway, who informed the participants that he was steering a NEEEF response together with the trade ministry and the NCCI was of the opinion that not enough consultation was done on the empowerment framework and Investment Bill but was positive of a fruitful NEEEF and Investment Bill outcome.
Said Galloway, “there is not nearly enough consultation. NEEEF is authoritative. The same themes come through on the Investment Act. We will get it right [though]. We will need to sit down with each other in the next two weeks.
We should meet quickly and crystalize investment ideas.”
Permanent Secretary Sinimbo assured participants of the government’s commitment to address the short-comings in the Investment Act.
“We are looking at having a common position with all the parties.”
Sinimbo also stated that the definition of the term Investor had been cleared up in the Investment Act.”
Closing the meeting, NCCI CEO Shaanika was in good spirits stating, “I have no doubt about NEEEF and the Investment Act. The ministry is willing to engage.”