The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade is responsible for spearheading two very important sectors, which are not only wide in scope but very critical for the realisation of national socio-economic development goals of our country. It therefore suffices to say that a well-developed and competitive trade and industrial sector is the source of employment, the production of goods and services that are much needed in the country and for exports to other countries; a means for addressing existing social inequities; and important source and basis for wealth creation and economic growth and competitiveness.
The ministry continues to improve the quality of the mandate assigned as a pioneer for economic growth of the country. That’s why the ministry contrive the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies, legislation and strategies to promote investment, increase trade and grow industrialisation implanted in the “Growth at Home” strategy. The 2022/23 period has seen tremendous progress in the implementation of the key programmes aimed at contributing to the economy and job creation. The ministry focused on various interventions underpinned by key policies relating to industrial development, trade and investment. Utilising a funnel approach, at international and continental pedestal; Namibia is a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a major initiative of the African Union (AU) aimed at amplifying trade on the African continent. The implementation strategy and Action Plan 2022 – 2027 was launched, outlining opportunities, gaps and reforms to fully take advantage without reserve of the huge market. To this end, the ministry trained women entrepreneurs and youth on AfCFTA protocol on women and youth. In relation to legislation and regulatory front; the enhancement, enactment and promulgation of the Metrology Act (which is the provision for legal units of measurements and legal metrology, technical regulations, national measurements standards and adherence to international standards); advancement of the property practitioner bill; pursuance of near finalisation of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act (NIPFA), similarly, nigh conclusion of the competition Bill aligned to the National Competition Policy 2020 – 2025; and furthermore, Cabinet approved the national Sustainable Special Economic Zone Policy to support the creation of several types of special economic zones to help ensure the diversification of the economy. On regional stage/ Southern African Development Community (SADC) rostrum; Namibia was nominated to be the headquarters of the SADC Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association. The effort is the commitment to preserve the planet through participating in the work of the Montreal Protocol of 1987 (an agreement to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances). At national podium; the period under review saw the construction of biomass project with assistance from development partners to improve the carrying capacity of the livelihood of livestock and products. Embedded to this, the ministry trained 40 Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the full biomass value chain opportunities to create backward linkages in the biomass project. Also, 24 students at Karibib Gemstone Centre were trained in diamond cutting and polishing sector as part of enterprise development. MIT through Empretec Office undertook regional training countrywide to capacitate 375 unemployed youth with basic entrepreneurial development skills. The coaching exercise chiefly enhanced entrepreneurial skills and livelihood of participants.
In effort to promote trade and investment into the Namibia economy, the ministry made great strides in facilitating a number of key inward and outgoing trade missions that yielded tangible results for investment opportunities enhanced by easy of doing business, infrastructure development, stable macroeconomic environment, embracing of a democratic culture and conducive business climate. The ministry utilised various outreach programmes around the globe and opportunities on a wide range of platforms to communicate its strategies, approaches and concepts with stakeholders as well as cooperating partners with a view to achieve a prosperous and industrialised Namibia, as envisaged in Namibia Vision 2030. In pursuit to bring services of business facilities closer to the people, the government recognised the vital role that the small and micro enterprises play in the social-economic development of Namibia. Hence, through its Sites and Premises Programme, the ministry continues honouring its mandate of providing a conducive business environment by developing business and industrial infrastructure such as multi-purpose SME building blocks, industrial parks and common facility centres. During the report period, Opuwo, Tsumeb and Omaruru business parks were completed. These facilities give leasing and rental facilities for business communities.
In support of public consultation, the ministry successfully facilitated a number of national business sessions and engagements with relevant stakeholders to inform, educate and communicate the critical subjects of administering the Liquor Act, consumer protection policy & bill as well as the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act. These nationwide engagements were conducted in Khomas, Erongo, Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena. Pursuant to the Growth at Home strategy, the ministry launched the school uniform manufacturing factory at Nkurenkuru to enhance manufacturing output and value added activities and inaugurated a regional office in the same area to enhance service delivery to the people.
It is expected that, the 2023/24 period will see a gradual drive to enhance the industrial sector; promote investment through the finalisation of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Bill. The National Sustainable Special Economic Zones policy is expected to be concluded. Similarly, the National Colling Strategy is also set to be completed. The national consultations on Liquor Act, consumer protection policy & bill as well as the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act will be carried out for the remainder of the regions.
*Elijah Mukubonda is the chief information officer at the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade.