Open access to markets – NCCI
Koneka Iindji, chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)’s northern branch, has said that government should start cutting down on some of the bureaucratic structures that has built up over the years and adjust laws to make it easy for entrepreneurs and NCCI members to access markets and ease business operations.
According to Iindji, NCCI has over the years requested government to adjust trade policies as a means for government to attract investors, as small businesses need assistance.
“A lot of that can be done through legal adjustments, change in laws and simply facilitating procedures and making things happen more quickly and easily, so that business can happen faster,” he said.
Iindji added that even though government adopts a free-trade economic policy and is now busy with a Namibia Investment Act to benefit more locals, “we cannot leave Namibians to focus on specific sectors when it comes to exporting. I believe that to really push the economy in order to be more creative and innovative, we need more tools to help support our small to medium sized enterprises to be more able to export. Such a strategy needs to be adapted by NCCI. The government should also realise the importance of having a stronger export capability.”
Despite some of the unfavourable business conditions, Namibia has a competitive advantage over other SADC countries. Iindji said: “We are a very small country, we have a lot of added advantages on our SADC neighbours and other comparative economies in the world.”
One of the advantages, he said, is the fact that Namibia is a free country in terms of the economy, independent judiciary and political stability.
“The natural trade is not only restricted to Namibian citizens; foreign nationals can also come to Namibia and start their own businesses. But we are advocating that even though we welcome foreign businesses, our interest must be taken care off first,” Iindji said.
Currently, NCCI is working on projects aimed at elevating business performance in the country.
This include providing education opportunities to members, in terms of better ways to do business, as well as opportunities to access other markets.
The firm has also teamed up with other organisations to enhance trade. “One of the things we’re focused on at the moment is how to address investment, how to work with the government to attract investment in Namibia a bit more,” said Iindji.
His wish for Namibia is to divert from only a knowledge-based economy to an economy based on knowledge and innovation. “I would really like to see Namibia being more of an innovation economy. If you look at what the whole world needs right now in terms of what countries can provide, technology and knowledge represents a big share of many countries, which are able to grow. Hopefully by having the right government policies, and the right initiatives and commitment from the private sector to develop Namibia one day and adapt fully to a knowledge-based economy,” Iindji said.
As from June 2012, Iindji will no longer serve as chairperson of NCCI northern branch.