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Flood ravaged northern businesses suffer losses

Businesses and entrepreneurs operating in the northern part of Namibia has suffered severe losses as a result of recent heavy rains.
The business community, government and farmers continue to be seasonal victims of the floods, with the agricultural sector heavily affected as the majority of the communities in the north depend on farming. Businesses in the small and medium enterprises sector have also over the years become victims of the seasonal flooding.
Speaking to the Economist this week, Koneka Iindji, area manager of business development at the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (NCCI) northern office, said that it is somewhat unrealistic to quantify the losses since victims of floods suffer different loses, which usually go unreported.
He however said that the losses are normally huge.
Iindji added that: “The impact of floods on businesses in the north is adverse and this year’s flood is anticipated to be worse than those experienced in past years during the same time.”
Businesses which are both directly and indirectly affected by flood waters are now left to deal with the imminent threat of going under financially.
Some of the problems northern businesses are faced with are not unique, “but could be exacerbated by the fact that they are still facing an anticipated heavy rain and floods this year and this is very constant on the global economic crunch that hit them over the past four years,” Iindji said.
Many northern businesses also suffered severe losses after the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 floods.
He said that although government always responded by assisting the general public with shelter, food and other needs, businesses were left to fend for themselves.
Without the much-needed financial backup, the NCCI has faced challenges in overcoming the disaster and is therefore calling upon all financial institutions to extend loans to affected businesses and to be considerate and arrange for easy repayment terms with clients until they have fully recovered.
This year, NCCI will monitor the situation closely to provide the needed assistance. “We are doing everything within our means to overcome the situation so that we can help one another grow. Some commercial and development banks last year have responded positively,” Iindji said.
This comes after some investors were scared away by the annual floods. “Some investors who were, for instance, operating hotels had to close the facilities due to the effects of floods,” he said.
To mitigate effects of the flood on business operations, the business community is calling upon the Oshakati Town Council to speed up the full implementation and completion of the proposed concept master plan, to reduce losses incurred by businesses in the northern part of Namibia due to floods.
The master plan was approved by Cabinet last year.
Iindji however added that the floods in the north are not an issue to be left to the town council alone.
“It is a national issue which every citizen should identify a positive role to mitigate the effects, because floods are not only affecting town areas, they are affecting all the human habitats in the north and far east regions,” he said.
NCCI has about 910 registered members.

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