Business registration in the Hardap region, of which low numbers had been a concern to government, has been revamped and is gradually improving. Governor of the Hardap region Salomon April said the business registration process has now been improved through digital processing with the turnaround time greatly reduced, with 120 businesses registered in the past 12 months.
The same process has been done with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) certification to allow registered businesses to participate in the public procurement processes.
“Certificates to the number of 65 were issued in the last 12 months, and 14 505 face masks were produced by local suppliers from material procured by the ministry of industrialisation for distribution to vulnerable persons to the fight against Covid-19,” stated April during his state of the region address (SONA) last week.
The governor added that government recognised the importance of MSMEs and the role they play to develop the economy; hence, the ministry of industrialisation implemented appropriate policies and programs to enhance business growth.
Minister of industrialisation Lucia Iipumbu earlier this year expressed concern that businesses in the Hardap region were not actively involved in applying and participating in efforts to grow the sector. Iipumbu addressed her concerns during stakeholders’ consultations with the business community in the region.
Meanwhile, on ongoing and upcoming projects in the region, April indicated that a milk value chain development will commence in the region during the current financial year with the budget allocation of N$500 000.
Furthermore, the governor said his office has partnered with its counterpart in the Oshana region to strengthen effective governance, accountability and transparency in collaboration with the regional council.
He added that similar partnerships have begun with the Erongo and //Kharas regions through offices of respective governors to stimulate economic activities, particularly in agriculture, fishing, mining and education.
“The Hardap region will benefit from phase two of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded program earmarked for strengthening Namibia’s food systems to recover from emergencies and disease-related shock through the build back better program,” he noted.
Expansion of farming and strengthening of horticulture in resettlement farms in partnerships with food and agriculture organisation is still happening in the Hardap region.
Hardap has also engaged the ministry of environment and tourism to develop a long-term cultural heritage trail in an attempt to attract tourism in the region and boost local growth.
Outlining challenges in the region, April noted that implementations of capital projects that are slow and some that have actually come to a complete standstill: “We must, therefore, work at both regional and national level to find innovative ways of fast-tracking the implementation of processes”.
According to April, poverty and unemployment need to be addressed with the urgency it deserves, saying it is unacceptable that about 60% of people continue to live in shacks without access to water and sanitation.
“We must fast track housing delivery, sanitation and service delivery in general. It is also equally important to invest in critical sectors such as agriculture in order to ensure food nutrition security at household level and also to ensure employment opportunities,” April concluded.