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“We need to execute better”

CEO Operations at Old Mutual, Sakaria Nghikembua gave his views on development goals and obstacles.

CEO Operations at Old Mutual, Sakaria Nghikembua gave his views on development goals and obstacles.

Sakaria Nghikembua, CEO: Operations, Old Mutual says a concerted move to Public Private Partnerships needs to occur, particularly in the area of land delivery in urban areas, where local authorities bring in the land whilst the private sector brings in the funding and skills, to deliver serviced land within time, budget and to required quality standards.
Speaking at the recent Crayfish Festival in Lüderitz he said “Infusing more land into the market, will have a potentially positive effect on price levels, and people who need the land will get it, local authorities will get a once-off profit share as well as create a future income stream via property taxes and the provision of municipal services to the new properties.
To realize this objective, Nghikembua noted that “two things must be in place – funding and project implementation skills”, both available via the private sector. The opportunity is similar for public infrastructure development, yet another cornerstone for sustained economic growth, and the potential for new health centres, gravel roads, community halls and schools and public libraries, to address this deficit is an exciting goal.
Noting that “Employed people buy what they need from private businesses” is a great motivator to private sector to seriously address the high unemployment rate; Nghikembua identified skills development; and active support to the development of SMEs as a priority for public and private sector.
A possible solution tendered by Nghikembua is the establishment of “a smart partnership fund into which all private sector players contribute a percentage of their payroll or a percentage of their profit, which-ever is the greater, to offer bursaries and scholarships to Namibians in areas of critical importance to our development and the realization of Vision 2030.”
Noting that SMEs create more jobs – and do so faster – than large companies, Nghikembua called for “systematic, synchronized and sustainable support to SMEs”. With SMEs creating about 16,000 new jobs annually compared to 2000 to 3000 new jobs created by large companies, even if the average incomes from SME jobs might be relatively lower than those from larger corporate jobs, SMEs benefit a much broader part of the population.
Highlighting the number of Land Delivery initiatives and Infrastructure Development Projects through funds managed by Old Mutual, Nghikembua said Old Mutual actively seeks to be involved in conversations around larger public infrastructure delivery projects – specifically from the point of view of funding and/or project management. To him the solution is clear – better coordination between government and business, increased trust levels between government and the private sector, and collective ownership of our national priorities, will make the change.

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