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Consumers need protection

Namibian Manufacturers are currently facing many challenges as a result of the infiltration of foreign retailers in the economy.
Heiko Niedermeier, managing director of NEO Paints Factory, said that although his company is not affected by the import of low quality products, such products unfortunately affect the poor and illiterate consumers mostly because these products are targeted at them.
They require protection from institutions such as the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI), he said.
Niedermeier also pointed out that it is not only the Chinese who import low quality paint, but also South African importers.
He says the greatest difficulty facing Namibian manufacturers is the fact that they do not have access to the retail market, which is mainly South African dominated.
“Foreign owned retailers do not know Namibian brands and they often have exclusive or advantageous trade agreements with foreign manufacturers. The result is that Namibian products do not get on to the shelves,” Niedermeier said, stressing that “the playing field is not level.”
He does not believe that this issue can be addressed by introducing trade barriers or import levies. “These mechanisms firstly often result in higher costs to the consumer and secondly make the manufacturer or producer fat and lazy.  When the barriers inevitably fall away, these companies are uncompetitive and go down,” said Niedermeier.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Competition Commission and other bodies are currently investigating other mechanisms to address the issue.
Niedermeier believes that Team Namibia could play a stronger role in ensuring that Namibian consumers buy Namibian products because it will ultimately benefit the country’s economy and future. “It is unfortunate that they do not have a clear message to the consumer regarding what is Namibian and what is not,” he concluded.
NEO Paints, a member of the Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA), is a wholly owned Namibian company and has been manufacturing paint products for 57 years in Namibia. NEO Paints has become a household brand and is a major player in terms of market share in the country.
Niedermeier said that the company owes this success to consistent quality of products and services.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.