OMUTHIYA - The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)’s chairperson for Oshikoto, Sacky Kathindi has appealed to government to provide some relief to businesspeople, saying Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on their earnings.
To be precise, he asked the government to consider offering relief to small and medium enterprises who spend money on licences and lease renewals, yet were unable to leverage anything due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“People made efforts to try and remain relevant by making sure their businesses are registered and up to standard. Despite having made some significant investments, these people never got any returns. Therefore, I am appealing to government that come next year, they must give payment relief or discounts in order to allow these entities and individuals to recover financially,” Kathindi urged.
He said many were paying hundreds to thousands of dollars, yet their businesses were not operational.
Furthermore, the chairperson asked government to also provide tax relief to businesses whose accounts accumulated during Covid-19.
“This also goes to the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) that has been telling businesses to pay up their outstanding taxes, to now exercise leniency. In fact, NamRA should first assess and familiarise themselves with how businesses are affected on the ground before they start pestering them further,” he streessed.
“All sectors from shebeens, SMEs and tourism and hospitality establishments are severely affected in Oshikoto, and many have failed to revive themselves despite regulations having been relaxed. Therefore, we further ask government to allow especially bar/shebeen owners to operate based on the licences they possess, thus giving them room to flourish while conditions are still convenient rather than putting a cap on their operations.”
Another concern raised by the NCCI was the alleged mushrooming of foreign traders.
Kathindi said something should be done to protect the local industry, arguing that big retailers are now competing with start-ups.
“One needs to zoom into the free trade policy. It has many loopholes that leave small businesses vulnerable to competition. If it’s not regulated, there will be no hope for upcoming entrepreneurs to survive,” he reasoned.