With more than 3 500 deaths reported in Namibia by the health ministry as a result of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic, funeral undertakers have been under tremendous strain due to a high demand for their services as well as to ensure the supply of coffins.
According to Alex Shimuafeni, Statistician General at the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), between August 2020 and August 2021, the country imported coffins to a value of N$34 million, with the largest import figure of N$8 million (23.8%) reflected in August 2021 and the lowest figure of less than N$1 million recorded in September 2020.
However, in efforts to develop national coffin manufacturing capabilities, the trade ministry, along with key stakeholders such as the National Planning Commission as well as the ministries of labour and finance, last month received a Cabinet action letter supporting a proposal to produce locally. This proposal is expected to significantly reduce the import bill on coffins.
Meanwhile, the NSA’s latest trade statistics bulletin for August 2021, released this week, stated among the various local activities, the manufacturing industry emerged as the largest exporting sector. For the period under review, the industry exported goods worth N$4.9 billion, representing 68.8% of total exports.
The trade by industry is based on the International Standard of Industry Classification (ISIC). Out of the N$4.9 billion worth of manufactured goods exported, 65.3% were re-exports reflecting Namibia’s small manufacturing base.
“The export of goods from this industry rose by N$1.1 billion from N$3.8 billion in July 2021. Additionally, goods from the mining and quarrying industry came in second place after recording exports valued at N$1.9 billion. Exports from that industry rose by N$1 billion from N$840 million recorded in July 2021,” reads the report.
The NSA further stated that the demand side also showed a similar trend, with goods from the manufacturing industry emerging on top of the list of goods imported, with an import bill of N$7.8 billion in August 2021. This is an increase of N$1.3 billion from N$6.5 billion recorded in July 2021. Furthermore, the mining and quarrying industry imported goods to the tune of N$2.1 billion representing an increase of N$302 million from N$1.8 billion in July 2021.
Overall, the value of exports in August 2021 increased, growing by 41.5% to N$7.1 billion from its July 2021 level of N$5 billion. On the contrary, when compared to its level of N$7.5 billion in August 2020, exports declined by 6.2%.
Moreover, imports stood at N$10 billion, which is an increase of 18.5% on a monthly basis while on an annual basis growth of 12.1% was observed from its August 2020 level of N$8.9 billion.
“Subsequent to the developments in exports and imports, Namibia’s total merchandise trade (exports plus imports) with the rest of the world improved by 27.1% from its July 2021 level of N$13.4 billion to N$17.1 billion recorded in August 2021. Similarly, total trade improved by 3.7% when compared to N$16.5 billion recorded in August 2020,” NSA said. -email@example.com