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On the spot - Gaomab reorienting NIDA

2022-02-18  Edgar Brandt

On the spot - Gaomab reorienting NIDA

The Namibia Industrial Development Agency is wholly owned by government and operates according to the hybrid governance model applicable in Namibia and, therefore, reports to both the trade ministry as well as the public enterprises ministry. 

NIDA is classified as a commercial state-owned enterprise (SOE) and is a central anchor to future economic growth on industrialisation capacity and as an enabling strategic implementing partner of the industrial policy as well as on agri-business processing and sector growth-oriented development with the sole aim to add value by creating key sustained industries and related business infrastructure.   

These are clearly outlined in Section 3 of the Act, which is indicative of promoting viable strategic investment projects in development initiatives in the industrial, agriculture and rural development areas through joint ventures and public-private partnerships (PPPs). 

NIDA is currently drafting its integrated strategic business plan (ISBP), which will guide its implementation mandate for the years 2022 to 2025. As such, NIDA is affecting the integrated strategic plan, structure, systems and processes in line with relevant provisions of institutional transferability, transition management and business continuity. This is being done under the guidance of the public enterprises ministry and under the policy oversight of the trade ministry. 

This week, New Era’s (NE) senior business journalist, Edgar Brandt interviewed the CEO of NIDA, Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II (MG) about NIDA’s current operational status as well as the agency’s future plans. 


NE: What is the current operational status of NIDA?

MG: NIDA’s operational status is historical on change management and transitional and transferable provisions. It’s historical since NIDA has inherited an asset base of over N$1 billion but has outstanding statutory and expenditure obligations. These range from normal operational commitments with clients, utilities on water and electricity and capital requirements for its strategic business units concerning its farms of agro-produce, cattle farming, industrial and business infrastructure.

NIDA is at a crossroads of change management, reorienting an organisational culture, which is performance and result-driven, with emphasis on accountability and capacitating requisite human resource potential once the strategic plan has been approved by the relevant authorities.

It’s transferable in the sense that with the gazetting notice by our portfolio minister of industrialisation and trade which is imminent in terms of Section 30 of the NIDA Act 2016, all assets, rights, liabilities and obligations of Overseas Development Company (ODC) and Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NDC) into Namibian Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) will be formalised. 

In terms of staffing, we are also in a transferable mode in terms of affecting our operational demands and NIDA’s industrialisation mandate by capacitating requisite human resource potential guided by the ongoing strategy formulation. We also care for our employees during the transitioning and change management period in the sense that the Act specifies that the board can exercise its due care of its terms and conditions to be no less favourable under NIDA as it were under ODC and NDC. 


NE: What are the focal points for NIDA during 2022?

MG: NIDA is drafting its ISBP, which will guide its implementation mandate in the year 2022 to 2025 consistent with the provisions of the NIDA Act, 2016.


NE: What is NIDA’s total staff complement and how would you describe current labour relations between NIDA’s executive and the rest of the employees?

MG: NIDA’s staff complement stands at over 230 as of 31 January 2022 on permanent establishment. The staff complement is to be assessed based on the outcome of the ISBP, given its organisational capability and financial sustainability. The agency is conscious to design an organisational structure which is capable of delivering the performance and result driven outcomes required by the industrial mandate of the agency and conventional wisdom dictates that a structure follows strategy and we, therefore, cannot do otherwise but comply with this dictum once the strategy is approved to ensure the structure is in place this year under the guidance of the shareholding and portfolio ministries. NIDA has sound industrial relations and considers it critical to its success in the future. That is why we have developed a healthy and productive relationship with the trade union, NAFAU by signing a procedural and recognition agreement in April 2022. 


NE: Is the recruitment of NIDA’s executive complete? if not, what executive positions still have to be filled and when can this be anticipated?

MG: Once the strategy is finalised and approved by the board and shareholding and portfolio ministries of public enterprises and industrialisation and trade, the executive positions identified will be advertised no later than June 2022, but guided by the transformative, transitioning, change management and transferable provisions of the NIDA Act 2016 that is based on organisational capability and financial sustainability.


NE: With a mandate to “unlock economic opportunities” what new industrial projects can we expect from NIDA during 2022?

MG: The agency is at an advanced stage to finalise its ISBP 2022-2026 for approval by the board of directors and subsequent to government through the ministries (public enterprises, industrialisation and trade, finance, agriculture, water and land reform). The draft ISBP in development highlights various interventions and projects/programmes for implementation for the next five years; however, the economic areas of intervention will be publicly announced once it has been approved. 


NE: What existing national development projects managed by NIDA hold the most potential to support employment and economic growth?

MG: The national projects managed by NIDA include the following: 

Site and premises programme: Provides affordable premises to SMEs and entrepreneurs to contact their business activities. Currently, NIDA manages 148 properties located across the country, which created an enabling environment to manage and operate business ventures to create job opportunities and improve the livelihoods of the owners and communities.

Agri-business operations: NIDA manages agri-business projects that specialise in three different forms of agriculture; cattle farming for beef production, table grapes, and date production for domestic and export markets. These projects are located at Kavango West, //Kharas and Kunene regions which have the potential for value addition, diversification and expansion. Currently, 460 direct job opportunities have been created. In addition, these projects are contributing to national food security, import substitutions, foreign currency earnings and as well as the diversification of export products. 


NE: What major challenges are faced by NIDA during 2022 and how does NIDA plans to overcome these obstacles?

MG: NIDA is still at a transformative state, transition management and institutional continuity and this process has taken a while and will be earmarked for speedier finalisation once strategy takes effect this year. The agency will require both financial and human resources to implement its industrial mandate. 


NE: What needs to be done to restore NIDA’s image to the Namibian public?

MG: We are reorientating our organisational culture to be responsive, performance and result driven and to ensure greater potential in terms of income generation from our strategic business units of sustainable cattle farming, agro-processed production, commercial services and business and industrial property infrastructure. We aim to rebrand soon once the strategy is affected to modernise and ensure greater stakeholder engagement, reputation management and enhanced corporate visibility. 


NE: What was NIDA’s budget for the current financial year and how do you expect this to change in the 2022/23 national budget?

MG: NIDA’s budget is currently under review in view of the strategic formulation and financial analysis and the expectations will be to leverage its asset base of over N$1 billion to source local funding to effect its industrial mandate in Namibia. The budget for 2022/23 is not yet approved by the board and will be aligned to the ISBP still to be approved. 

2022-02-18  Edgar Brandt

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