Retail Charter in negotiation phase
Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein launched negotiation talks for the Namibian Retail Charter at the Namibia Trade Forum’s (NTF) second annual general meeting which was held at the NamPower Convention Centre earlier this week.
Schlettwein said, “It is important to realize that the outcome of this charter will not be binding only on those who are participating but on everybody. I therefore urge all retail operators and distributors to come on board.”
The Retail Sector is targeting a 20% increase in the shelving of Namibian products. Fifteen months have passed since stakeholders in with the Retail and Distribution sector were consulted on how to achieve collective developmental objectives.
“A Retail Charter which at the end of it would contain binding obligations for both is viewed by me as the most suitable outcome,” Schlettwein said.
He said that a weak productive capacity and poor links between manufacturers, distributors and retailers is one of the constraints to growing productive capacity and the consumption of locally manufactured goods.
The minister said that the Implementation Strategy of the Industrialization Policy is at a very advanced stage.
“The problem that we must address is that our economy needs structural reform,” Schlettwein stressed. He attributed the constrain in the development of domestic value chains to high margins in the retail sector. Often to the disadvantage of consumers and local producers, leading to reduced participation of Namibians in the retail sector and its supply chains.
Schlettwein rang an alarm on the rising costs of food and cost of living. He said, “Together with rising costs of utilities and industrial and domestic properties it will be difficult to achieve competitive gains for industrialisation and also to improve living standards for the majority.”