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Manufacturer of the Year award launched

The Namibia Manufacturers Association this week launched the inaugural Manufacturer of the Year Award 2013.
The award ceremony, aimed at recognising and rewarding Namibian manufacturers who during the past years went the extra mile in putting Namibia amongst international manufacturers, will be held on 20 June 2013.
It will be the first time since the association’s inception in 1994, that members of the NMA are given the opportunity to participate in a project where they can showcase their products at an awards ceremony.
NMA Chairperson, Brian Black told reporters Wednesday that now is the right time to start honouring and recognizing excellence amongst the association’s members on a national platform in order to enhance awareness of Namibian products and to promote the need for more local manufacturing activities.
Black said: Prior to Independence, Namibia simply did not have a manufacturing industry. Everything was happening outside, even water was imported from South Africa. Obviously the NMA with government and various stakeholders’ support, we have to start somewhere in encouraging local manufacturing. We believe that the time has now come to start showcasing what our members are capable of. We are looking forward for this specific awards to grow year to year.”
Awards that will be conferred at the awards ceremony include the NMA Corporate Manufacturer of the Year, the NMA SME Manufacturer of the Year; the NMA New Manufacturer of the Year, the NMA Innovator and Designer of the Year, the NMA Ambassador for Manufacturing and the NMA Most Environmentally Friendly Manufacturer. The overall winner for the evening will then be crowned the inaugural NMA Manufacturer of the Year.
An independent panel of judges consisting of the chairperson of the Namibian Organic Association, Manjo Smith, Polytechnic of Namibia lecturer, Salomo Mbai and the Technical Advisor at the Bank of Namibia, Emile van Zyl will adjudicate the qualifying entries after which auditing firm Grant Thornton Neuhaus will do the final auditing of the adjudicating process.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NMA, Ronnie Varkevisser said despite the progress that they have made, members of the association are still faced with a number of challenges. Chief among these was retailers preferring to stock foreign products in their shops, delays in VAT refunds and work permit applications for scarce skilled workers.
Varkervisser said: “Retailers should buy from local manufacturers and not import all their products from South Africa. I can state that there are certain retailers, I am not going to use names, in Namibia that don’t carry one Namibian manufactured product on their shelves.”
Elaborating on the most common frustratioins, Varkevisser said “The time frame to get that refund paid back to manufacturers, the time frame if you ask to put in an application for a work permit to import skills, scarce skills – it takes a long time.”
He added that certain tenders should be exclusively for Namibian manufacturers “so that nobody from outside can apply to get that tender.”
“We know the government is busy looking at that. We have had a discussion with the trade and industry minister, Calle Schlettwein two weeks ago and we brought up this issue of tenders,”Varkevisser said.

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