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Questionable and undefined concepts in economic empowerment bill could lead to abuse and misuse – employers’ federation

Questionable and undefined concepts in economic empowerment bill could lead to abuse and misuse – employers’ federation

The Namibian Employers’ Federation joined other critical voices this week, condemning the vast discretionary powers that will be conferred on the relevant minister and the Economic Empowerment Commissioner, were the current version of the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill to go through the National Assembly unchallenged.

The Federation has also expressed concern with the bill’s sweeping powers that will enable the Commissioner to draft any regulation that he or she sees fit. At this point, the regulations are a carte blanche but if the bill is enacted, no further consultation will be required and the Commissioner can literally promulgate any regulation at his or her discretion.

The bill also raised eyebrows when it was severely criticised by the Economic Policy Research Association who was the first organisation to point out the vast powers that will be conferred on the minister and the commissioner.

In a study piece, the Association alleged that the latest version of the bill is far removed from the version that was made public for consultation, calling the intended legislation ‘unconstitutional.’

Following a more reconciliatory tone, the Board of the employers’ federation said it is “of the view that other interventions remain wanting and should be embarked on by Government with the involvement of all stakeholders if lasting success is to be attained in securing a positive outcome for those most in need.”

Hinting at the bill’s unintended consequences, the federation said it “accepts that the drafting of this Bill is the result of many years of work and discussion, but feel that any attempt to accelerate the enactment of this Bill and subsequent writing of the regulations without final due care and diligence might have the reverse effect other than that intended.”

Clearly stating its willingness to cooperate with the government, the federation further stated, “Government is thus encouraged to engage in further consultations with the private sector on this version of the draft bill as it unfortunately still contains areas of questionable and undefined concepts which could lead to abuse and misuse.”

Caption: Local attorney, Mr Elia Shikongo has served as the President of the Namibian Employers’ Federation since October 2016.


About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The newspaper started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at His editorial focus is on economic analysis based on budget analysis, dissecting strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored scores of journalism students as interns and as young professional journalists. He often assists economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to [email protected]