Kuzeeko Tjitemisa WINDHOEK- Government has undertaken a benchmark exercise with South Africa to provide additional context and scope for improving the textual and substantive provisions in the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF), Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said. She said yesterday that the benchmarking exercise with the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa is also to draw lessons from experiences that may help the government improve the NEEEF framework and its implementation. She also said the team consisting of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) is continuing to target stakeholder consultations to strengthen understanding of public views to address persistent concerns about the viability of NEEEF. Earlier this year, she said, proposals for possible revision of the NEEEF Bill were considered by Cabinet. She said the highlights of these pertained to addressing the definition of previously disadvantaged persons, the scope of business enterprises and ownership equity provisions. The prime minister said proposals, among others, sought to ensure that the empowerment legislation concerns itself with enhancing a positive investment climate. Also, she said, a proposal was to ensure that the beneficiaries are broad based and the initiative supports growing the economy, while changing the pattern of distribution of economic benefits, innovation and value addition. More generally, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said, the empowerment framework is intended to transform ownership of productive assets and realise meaningful participation of the majority of Namibians in the control of the economy, and to promote higher and sustainable economic development through development. She said Cabinet has since considered the proposals. “All pillars, including education and skills development, enterprise development and market access, technology and innovation and corporate social responsibility, will be considered as part of a holistic approach to NEEEF compliance, and compliance will be assessed by scoring performance against each of the pillars and providing a rating based on an aggregate score,” she said. According to her, there is no doubt that the impact of systematic colonialism and apartheid, which deliberately disadvantaged segments of the society economically, socially and educationally, continues to manifest itself 28 years into independence. “The wealth gap and income disparity remain glaring. The proposed empowerment legislation is an attempt to reduce this gap by creating an environment in which no Namibian should feel left out, while optimising opportunities for further sustainable economic growth,” she said, adding that it is an opportunity for Namibians to create an environment of solidarity and unity and increased prosperity for all. Over the next few months, she said, the team is expected to produce a revised draft Bill, consult with stakeholders, develop empowerment standards and scorecards and initiate discussions on sector-specific charters. The intention is to exhaust internal discussions with government players and private sector stakeholders to ensure that the information that is returned to the broader public is clear and thoroughly consulted on. “It is intended to have the Bill tabled in the National Assembly before the end of the financial year,” she added.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-03 09:01:31 7 months ago