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Namibia removes investment bottlenecks…as One Stop Centre commits to ease of doing business

2022-11-01  Maihapa Ndjavera

Namibia removes investment bottlenecks…as One Stop Centre commits to ease of doing business

At the launch of Namibia’s One Stop Centre for investors on Friday, trade minister Lucia Iipumbu said this development is a crucial investment facilitation mechanism, where relevant government offices are coordinated at a single point to provide prompt, efficient and transparent services to investors. 

This service has also been implemented to ultimately shorten and simplify administrative procedures and guidelines, thereby removing bottlenecks faced by both local and foreign investors in establishing and running businesses in Namibia.

“This will ultimately result in a number of quality and sustainable employment created, potential for skills and technology transfer, utilisation of local raw materials in the production process, potential for increased export and import substitution, potential to create backward and forward linkages, innovation and creativity and focus on priority sector under the economic diversification drive,” said Iipumbu.

As such, the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), amongst others, is mandated to improve the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business. 

In its bid to improve the ease of doing business and subsequently Namibia’s ranking, the NIPDB established the investors One Stop Centre (OSC). 

According to the latest figures released this month by the Bank of Namibia in its quarterly bulletin, direct investment into Namibia recorded a higher inflow during the second quarter of 2022, mainly due to equity injections for exploration activities as well as higher retained earnings. 

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows rose to N$3.1 billion during the quarter under review, compared to an inflow of N$1.8 billion registered a year ago and N$2 billion in the previous quarter. 

The centre further aims to streamline procedures for new and existing investors to enable them to easily conduct their businesses in a conducive investment environment. 

The single access point will house nine public entities critical to the investment facilitation process.

The trade minister noted that services offered by the OSC will range from consultations, business information, facilitation of visas and work permit applications, as well as provision of relevant information regarding business registration services, such as business establishment, income tax and VAT and investment support, amongst many others.

In a bid to attract and facilitate investments, the trade ministry is currently at the consultative stage of enacting revised Namibian investment legislation. 

This is expected to facilitate the attraction of investments and growth of sectors, as well as other strategic investment priorities. 

Also at last week’s launch, NIPDB CEO Nangula Uaandja said Namibia is an upper middle-income country, yet plagued with inequality, high unemployment and lack of high-quality jobs. 

However, she pointed out that sustainable, equitable new investments, deployed with a focus on inclusive growth, could solve Namibia’s numerous challenges.

Uaandja added Namibia’s ease of doing business and competitiveness ranking was favourable in the years when it ranked the lowest at 54 out of 190 countries.

 From 2012, the rankings started to deteriorate significantly and hit the highest ranking of 108 in 2016 and 104 in 2020, indicating a decline in the conducive business environment to attract and retain investment.

Mauritius (13) and Rwanda (38) are the highest-ranked countries in Africa. 

This ultimately means that doing business in Namibia is perceived to be more difficult, compared to a number of African countries. 

2022-11-01  Maihapa Ndjavera

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