Govt talks export levy again
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Calle Schlettwein announced this week at the Namibia Agricultural Union Annual Conference in Windhoek that the government will re-instate the 30 % levy on slaughter-ready cattle for export.
The government had to retract the levy last year due to the drought two months after President Hifikepunye Pohamba in his State of the Nation address said that measures will be introduced to restrict the live export of cattle to South Africa.
As part of the Growth at Home strategy, re-instating the export levy intends to discourage the export of live cattle for slaughter to boost local value adding in meat production. Schlettwein said it has become economic common sense in recognising the industrialisation synergy between agriculture and manufacturing.
“While government support export on the hoof for those livestock that can’t be slaughtered locally such as the weaners, we should endeavour to increase local value addition so that we create jobs and ensure beneficiation by developing downstream industries.” Schlettwein said.
He further added that agriculture’s contribution to GDP dropped from about 7.4% in 1980 to 3.2% in 2013 while for the same period, GDP contribution from manufacturing increased from 8.4 % to 12.1 %. “It is further important to note very few countries managed to industrialize without a strong agricultural base.” he said.
“Our Government is committed to providing support to this sector for its enhanced contribution to food security and increasing the living standard of our people, particularly those living in rural areas.”
He also announced that approval has been granted to Namibia from the Southern African Customs Union to increase its total allowable quota under the wheat rebate from 50,000 tons to 80,000 tons per rebate year. “The main purpose of the wheat rebate is to prevent the unnecessary cost burden on basic food for the consumers and for food security purposes” Schlettwein said. Addressing the agricultural conference, Schlettwein said that in the past the focus has been more on primary production and only little was done with regard to value addition. But the government believes that more investment in food processing and other value addition activities will create a bigger demand for raw material, ensuring that added value is properly shared along the value chain. “All agricultural producers would benefit more than they are doing now.”
Schlettwein said that Africa represents a major market with progress already been made in the free trade area negotiations across 26 African states.
“Not only have we just gone through a highly intensive and by times extremely worrying negotiation for market access to the European Union, but we have reached agreement with the Russian Federation concerning export of beef, and with China concerning beef and fish” the trade minister said.
He argued that the implementation of a horticulture market share promotion scheme together with the Green Scheme has created the opportunity for investment in manufacturing based on agricultural products. The minister urged all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to take advantage of the various government support schemes and where possible, also form joint ventures with government institutions to develop the agricultural sector value chains.