Break the cycle of fear, make Namibians productive again – Team Namibia
“The current measures to curb COVID-19 are having a devastating impact on businesses that are already on their knees, and some Namibian products and services will be lost forever if we do not drastically ignite our economy, support our own, and stand together in support of each other” said Pieter van Niekerk, chairman of the Team Namibia Board at a recent board meeting.
The lobby group for local business was itself a victim of the lockdown after one of its key members, Namdia, resigned. It then had to retrench its secretariat, and revert back to a model of being member driven and administrated.
Sketching the dire straits in which many businesses are due to the lockdown, Van Niekerk said that behind the manufacture of each Namibian product and the delivery of a service by a Namibian, is a family dependent on that income to secure their next meal, a roof over their head, and the clothing on their backs.
“The current recession is being exacerbated by measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and we need to seriously assess whether the opportunity cost of these measures is justified by the livelihoods lost,” he said.
“A proverbial snowball is in motion, and if we do not allow the sunlight to melt it, it is going to overrun our Nation. It is imperative that we remove the cloud that hangs over Namibia by directing our immediate focus to our people’s livelihoods that need the warmth of the Namibian sun, bearing in mind the reality of COVID-19. Namibians need hope, we need to be productive and earn a living, and we need to move forward, but we can only do this if we are not held captive by the fear created with COVID-19,” he continued.
Elaborating on current priorities, Team Namibia stressed the importance of ensuring the nation is kept healthy, well-nourished with local healthy food, stress free, and sleeping well as the worries of lockdown and unemployment, and poor nourishment do not bode well for a healthy nation.
“We need to pull together to focus on the future and yes, while that does mean that we all need to be responsible in light of the pandemic, it also means that we need to activate our economy, ignite our sense of community, and become a productive nation because Namibian lives depend on it,” Van Niekerk told the Team Namibia board members.
Pieter van Niekerk, Chief Operations Officer of the Namib Mills Group, is also the chairman of the lobby group for local business, Team Namibia.