WINDHOEK - The Namibia Chambers of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) has highlighted that financing for new business activities remains a challenge, especially for start-ups in greenfield projects.
This was revealed by NCCI Chief Executive Officer, Charity Mwiya, when she made a submission of the chamber to President Hage Geingob during his last town hall meeting in the Khomas Region held at Ramatex yesterday.
She said the chamber proposes that government and the private sector intensify collaboration to put venture capital funding in place to provide equity financing for emerging entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, Mwiya noted the need to creatively develop other funding mechanisms to help entrepreneurs, new and established, start or grow business.
She also highlighted that economic growth has been reliant on government spending and the slowdown largely resulted from budgetary cuts.
“We propose that fiscal consolidation efforts be related to stimulate economic activities. This can be achieved without increasing borrowing, but rather by prioritising spending and spending wisely and not for consumptive purposes,” she stated.
Equally, Mwiya said bureaucracy is suffocating, as attested by the numerous complaints from domestic and foreign investors.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila admitted that bureaucracy was an issue but revealed that the government has plans in place to ensure speedy service delivery.
According to her, other negatives resulting from tardiness on the part of the public sector include Value Added Tax (VAT) refund processing.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, in this regard, encouraged the chamber to take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance.
Mwiya pointed out that the economy would not grow unless the public sector ups its game, adding, “become civil servants and discard the habit of being a civil serpent”.
She also said local participation in the execution of state contracts is a serious concern that must be addressed in a decisive manner and not by way of a piecemeal approach.
“Namibia has an open market economy, but never is this the rationale for favouring foreign providers of goods and services over locals. NEEEF [New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework] has taken ages to finalise. Does the government really have plans to address this foreign or local favouritism challenge?” she queried.
She said although with the demise of the SME Bank access to funding for smaller enterprises is being addressed somewhat, the minimum lending amount is on the high side for smaller enterprises and the collateral or security requirements still unattainable for most historically disadvantaged Namibians.
“How does the government plan to address this challenge? Is government engaging with commercial banks to find solutions? How close is government to the establishment of the Credit Guarantee Scheme?” she asked.
Moreover, she wanted to know why the relevant government ministries are so “deadly” silent on policy matters pertaining to addressing water access and storage concerns.
Additionally, she raised the issue that intra-regional trade has been talked about ad nausea for far too long, saying it will remain a pipe dream unless government tackles infrastructure problems.
She cited the example of the deplorable state of the Sesheke to Livingstone road in Zambia, which forms part of the Walvis Bay Corridor stretching all the way to the DRC.
She noted that the importance of this road to the region cannot be over-emphasised, as it connects Namibia with other countries.
She said valuable time is lost, particularly for the Namibia logistics and tourism industry, as it now takes between seven to eight hours or even more should one have a breakdown due to those potholes on a distance that used to take only two hours.
“To add salt to injury, Zambia charges exorbitant road user rates, whereas Zambian motorists pay in comparison, a pittance to enter and use Namibia’s roads. Is our government engaging their Zambian counterparts to address this?” she asked a question raised by many Namibians visiting Zambia in reference to the insurance levy that Zambian officials demand should be paid only in American dollars on top of the carbon tax and the council levy and the toll fees.
According to her, it is high time the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration pays attention to the deplorable state of infrastructure and facilities at border posts.
She gave an example at Wenela border where toilets are filthy and the environment is scruffy.
Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Frans Kapofi, did not agree that the border is filthy, saying they visited the area recently.
“You cannot say it’s filthy. I think we have seen filthy things,” Kapofi reacted.
2019-08-16 07:27:52 7 days ago