Minister of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) Lucia Iipumbu paid a courtesy visit to Namibia Plastics and Packaging Distributors at Brakwater on the outskirts of the capital last week, following an invitation by its CEO Johan Struwig. Iipumbu’s visit was aimed at highlighting the growth of Namibian industries through local production and skills development.
Namibia Plastics Manager: Quality Assurance and Compliance José-Luis Pretorius, expressed his appreciation: “As a proudly Namibian company, we are pleased to introduce the minister to, and proudly highlight, key products currently manufactured locally as well as afford industry the opportunity to provide government with insight to future growth and product development, which will ultimately lead to job creation”.
During the minister’s visit, Pretorius provided a brief background on the company and stated that there are currently only two active plastic manufacturing companies in Namibia.
Pretorius remarked: “Namibia Plastics and Packaging Distributors identified a gap in the manufacturing industry for products that were imported and decided to develop and grow the local economy through job creation by manufacturing plastic products locally. However, the plastic manufacturing industry is faced with many challenges, such as logistics, financing, lack of protection, product dumping, importation of raw materials due to non-availability locally, unfair competition from foreign suppliers influencing local competition and pricing, amongst others, while a lack of skilled and technical labour is another contributing factor”.
Minister Iipumbu, in turn, commended the local manufacturer for its commitment to government’s Growth-at-Home Strategy. She further remarked: “I am pleased to note the investment that Namibia Plastics has made – not only with regards to employment creation but especially investing in skills and knowledge transfer in our people to operate some of the most technologically advanced equipment for the manufacturing of flexible film in the plastics industry. This speaks volumes and is testimony that as Namibians, we do not always need to stand back for any foreign expertise, as we have it in our power to develop our own people”.
Furthermore, Namibia Plastics expects employee numbers to increase with the growth of the company when additional machinery will be commissioned over the next five years. The company stressed that training and development of staff is a strategic priority and is part and parcel of its objective to ensure empowerment of employees.
Namibia Plastics supplies plastic products to beverages, millers, sugar, salt, poultry and fish processing, construction and the cement sector, agriculture and general manufacturing industries and is currently seeking approval for its application on Infant Industry Protection (IIP) for the locally manufactured product Stretch Hood Film to safeguard the local industry from foreign domination.
To ensure the best possible product is manufactured for the local and export market, Namibia Plastics and Packaging Distributors opted to commission the best technology on the market, called the Reifenhauser Evolution (valued at approximately N$ 28 million), of which its key product range includes stretch hoods.
“Due to the functionality of the product, our company decided we could not opt for an inferior machine, as that could affect the properties of the end product, which in turn could affect legal requirements,” Pretorius concluded.
Iipumbu’s visit was complemented by the attendance of the trade ministry’s executive director, Sikongo Haihambo, and Deputy Executive Director Michael Humavindu; Namibian Manufacturers Association (NMA) CEO Ronny Varkevisser as well as Namibia Trade Forum (NTF) Trade & Investment Analyst Roberth Simon.