Minister of industrialisation and trade Lucia Iipumbu said there is a critical need to ensure Namibia embraces and adopts its revamped and revived investment legislation due to several pressing reasons that are causing uncertainty among investors. She made this call last week while tabling the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act (NIPA) in the National Assembly for ratification.
The principal purpose of the Act is to enable a conducive environment to attract, retain and facilitate both sustainable domestic and foreign investment in the country. Iipumbu said the Act does not only cover and define its objectives and the minister’s powers, but also the duties and functions of key institutional mandates within the NIPA framework.
According to the trade minister, there is a need to embrace a modern and clear legal framework that accommodates newer economy dictates and developments. This is to ensure that the country leverages on dimensions that emanate from the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the economic nationalism agenda, the digital economy imperatives, a smarter approach towards economic incentives, regional and continental free trade areas, as well as fostering regional and bilateral value chains through new generation Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
“There was and still is a need to ensure that Namibia is not duly left with a policy gap when it comes to the investment environment. Current investment legislation has led to increasing investor uncertainty, a situation that Namibia can ill-afford any further,” she warned.
Iipumbu added: “The investor uncertainty is felt in the very low investments the country secured over the last three years. Although global investment levels have also experienced a downturn and were exacerbated further by Covid-19, Namibia is one of the economies that has been severely affected with investor uncertainty”.
The current legislation is outdated in that it does not foster domestic investment nor does it embrace newer dictates such as innovation and sustainable investment.
“The old legislation, therefore, will not support any viable initiatives that foster the adoption of 4IR-driven investments nor will it adequately enhance new policy developments around SEZ, which aims to ensure that Namibia can attract investments for trading in through the ACFTA and the rest of the world,” the minister explained.
Iipumbu cautioned that the absence of the investment policy regime is enabling an impaired environment in Namibia, making it difficult to leverage on newer investment strategies pertaining to renewable energies, resuscitating a post-Covid-19 economy within an updated investment legislative and policy framework, and comprehensively protecting local enterprises. The absent investment policy regime, therefore, does not auger well for the country.