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.