Association talks to stakeholders
The CEO of the Namibia Manufacturers Association says strengthening of stakeholder support has been a top priority for him since he took over office last year.
Ronnie Varkevisser ,who replaced long-serving CEO, Hennie Fourie at the beginning of August last year, told the Economist this week that stakeholder support was key for the growth of the local industry.
“My main focus has been cementing relations with all stakeholders, a key performance indicator for both growth and a sustainable, competitive, prosperous manufacturing and processing industry in Namibia,” says Varkevisser.
According to the CEO, the NMA is establishing a comprehensive networking platform with all stakeholders in the public and private sectors. He says this will enable local manufacturers to compete against other manufacturers, especially in the SADC region.
The manufacturers lobby group has so far managed to strengthen its relationships with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Namibian Competition Commission.
“The NMA also signed up various retailers as associate members; an action which we believe will enhance better understanding between the challenges facing manufacturers and the expectations of retailers, ” says Varkevisser who describes the period since his appointment as hectic. “It has been a very hectic, but highly satisfying time as the successful implementation and compliance of all NMA’s objectives has been a high priority.”
Varkevisser says he has also been tasked with implementing new initiatives, in addition to those started by his predecessor in order for the NMA to remain relevant to its members while discharging its responsibility of being the voice of Namibia’s fledging manufacturing industry.
But while Varkevisser has made some considerable progress, all has not been rosy for the association and its members. He singled out problems related to the quicker and more effective handling of Input VAT claims; simplifying procedures for manufacturers to obtain work permits for scarce and skilled staff; the adverse effect of high input cost such as electricity, raw material, labour and transport; and procurement of locally manufactured products, as some of the biggest challenges that members are currently facing.
Going forward, he says the NMA will continue to complement government’s national development goals while focusing on the association’s main responsibility of looking after the common interests of its members.
“In this regard, the NMA will during the year ahead, remains focused, committed in representing members, defending their rights whilst working tirelessly towards a conducive environment which enhances, stimulates and accelerates local manufacturing for the benefit of the economy and all our people”