WINDHOEK - The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) branches at Ondangwa, Oshakati and Ongwediva has elected new branch leaders at their respective annual general meetings held recently.
Namibian business tycoon Ben Hauwanga (popularly known as BH), founder and Chief Executive of the BH Group of companies, was elected to lead the NCCI Ongwediva branch. Hauwanga is deputised by Amalia Schmidt of the SchmidtCo Group. Schmidt is a renowned business personality who was crowned the 2005 Namibian Businesswoman of the Year.
Other committee members are Shafa Kaulinge of Tiger Wheel and Tyre Ongwediva as Treasurer, Juliana Nepembe-Haimbodi of Vintage Property Developers and Real Estate as Secretary, Advocate Matomola of Extra Defense Protection Services, Leonard Asser of Zone Four Investment and Panduleni Uahengo of Epic Trading Enterprises.
Many businesses in Ongwediva applauded this development saying that for the first time in history of that branch, its leadership echelon is truly representative of businesses as they are drawn from Namibia’s diverse business spectrum. Members expressed the hope for a truly unifying and effective leadership under Hauwanga, a well-respected business leader.
Mario Upite of 6000 Investment and 2014 Larger Enterprise Award winner of the Development Bank of Namibia’s Good Business Award was elected Chairperson of Ondangwa branch and his deputy is Victoria Joel of PJ Investments.
Additional members on the branch executive include Martha Negumbo of Eudafano Women Marula Manufacturing as Secretary and Philip Haikali of Super Auto Engine Repairs as the Treasurer. Other members on the leadership of the Ondangwa branch are Jonathan Amupolo of Kati Satellite, Tuyenikelao Shatona of Katiki Trading Enterprise and Sisco Shivolo of Sisco Catering Services.
At the AGM of the Oshakati branch, Otillie Kaapangelwa of OSK Debt Collectors and Turkie Tobias of Celtu Investments were elected Chairperson and Vice Chairperson respectively. Additional members elected to serve on the executive of that branch are Mulanduleni Kasita of Oshana Medical Laboratory as Treasurer, Patrick Chiyuka of Madmax Automotive & Equipment as Secretary, Tangeni Nghiwewelekwa of Water Engineering Africa, Christophine Shoopala of Shafa Real Estate and Abraham Shaanika of Sasha Trading & Earthworks.
In his acceptance speech the Chairperson of NCCI’s Ongwediva branch, Hauwanga said it was an honour for him to take up the new role. He added that he does not underestimate the importance of the position as local businesses needed a strong and unifying pillar to advocate for their interests, particularly during these very difficult economic times.
“NCCI is the leading private sector representative body in the country with important obligations to both its membership and the Nation. Therefore, this branch needs a very strong leadership that can go against the odds to influence policy decisions and foster the interest of our business people,” said Hauwanga.
He went on to say it is important for the NCCI leadership in the towns of Ongwediva, Ondangwa, Oshakati and the surrounding areas to reflect on the recent past during which the region has undergone considerable challenges, just like many other regions countrywide and take the appropriate actions as representatives of the business community.
“Access to markets for local products, support to small businesses, the frighteningly high youth unemployment rates, unfair competition from foreign firms, a rising rate of crime, are some of the core issues that we must strive to address with renewed energy,” he said.
Hauwanga said during his tenure he will spearhead the facilitation of enhancing trade between Namibia and Angola to revive economic activities in and around the town of Oshikango. According to Hauwanga, recent developments in Angola under the new regime provide many opportunities for Namibian businesses and the Angolan government has made it explicitly clear they favour Namibia to participate in various projects that are being opened up for foreign investments. According to Hauwanga, under Angola’s Privatisation Programme (ProPriv) most of the country’ state-owned or partially state-owned companies will be divested by 2020 and that country’s government has encouraged interested Namibian investors to take up these opportunities.
Hauwanga pointed out that there are also many opportunities for small businesses particularly in the agricultural sector.
“Angola has an oversupply of agricultural produce such as tomatoes, avocados, onions and a variety of fruit, which present new sourcing opportunities for our small businesses, particularly women traders. These products are more competitively priced in comparison to those imported from elsewhere. We will have to engage our Ministry of Agriculture to address any legislative issues or bilateral impediments to enhancing trade activities between our two countries particularly in this sector,” adds Hauwanga.
Hauwanga says Oshikango needs to be resuscitated because two-way trade will lead to and open up other economic possibilities.
“Angolans will bring their products here and once they sell them, they use the income to shop in Namibia and overnight at local accommodation establishments. We cannot go on overlooking the importance of this huge neighbouring market for Namibia. Government needs to support local businesses and work closely with NCCI to facilitate opportunities in that market,” stressed Hauwanga.
Ondangwa branch’s Upite has already prioritised opening up a branch information office in the town. This, he said, will serve to provide easy access to information for the local business community in Ondangwa and surrounding areas.
“As volunteer leaders, we have to go the extra mile beyond just annually paying membership subscriptions if we have to make our branches more effective. So, I have offered rent free office that would assist in providing the needed office space for the Secretariat from where services to our members and the business community in Ondangwa and from surrounding areas can then be provided, as for some traveling to Ongwediva office is often a challenge,” says Upite.
Kaapangelwa who is the first female Chairperson for NCCI Oshakati Branch promises to foster strong partnerships with local stakeholders. The NCCI’s advocacy role must not only become more effective, but should be a priority, she says.
Kaapangelwa says with her team at the leadership helm of NCCI Oshakati branch they will work towards bringing more local businesses on board. Not only to be silent members, but to become more involved in their Chamber thereby making it a collective voice that tackles challenges affecting the business community.
The NCCI Oshakati branch chairperson also wants to see more women entrepreneurs accessing and benefiting from services offered by the Chamber and thus called on the entire leadership of the organization to mobilise more funding to ensure that the NCCI Women’s Desk is well resourced and capacitated to deliver effectively.
The AGMs were administered by the NCCI’s Chief Executive Officer Charity Mwiya, NCCI Ongwediva Office Business Support Officer Ruth Shikongo-Heitha and a member of the NCCI Board, Bisey Uirab. All the newly elected NCCI branch leaders will shortly pay courtesy introductory visits to their respective town councils and collectively to the regional council. During the meetings a solid foundation is expected to be laid to map and develop an effective working strategy with these key stakeholders.
2019-09-05 07:30:29 18 days ago