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Opinion - Why buying local matters 

2021-11-17  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Why buying local matters 
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In the midst of economic hardship, we are still observing an average return towards local manufacturing and small businesses. 

It’s starting to be big business in Namibia now. 

These independent shops, farmers, tailors, eateries and craftsmen are hardworking people who contribute countless hours of time and energy to make their business survive. 

owever, there is always a question: “Why should we buy local products?” 

This question has been rippling around the minds of many Namibians – that’s why it is so significant to feel proud consuming products produced by fellow Namibians. 

Among the answers is local products are so unique, compared to any other products – and to simply close the overall question is by teaching one another the significance of consuming locally produced products.

It is strongly believed that buying local means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports – and keeping your culture unique. Keeping money in the local economy can be re-spent locally – and this, in turn, can revive overall economic activities and build a strong local demand base. 

Significantly, people should keep in mind that buying local is another way of re-circulating money in the local economy – and mind you, a number of new and existing small businesses can grow from the local circulation of money. 

Just think of N$1 000 you spend on imported goods that you can produce locally – and how many times you spend this per week, per month and year. 

This could be a lot of money spent locally that can contribute significantly to state revenue for the government to ensure a proper conducive environment is in place for businesses to continue thriving. 

The more you deliberately ignore your products and services, the level of your economic activity will reduce with the same amount of money you have spent on imported goods with the same price, taste and value as local ones. 

So, in other words, disregarding locally produced goods should be viewed as an irresponsible attitude that needs an urgent cure.

 

‘Opportunities and decisions’

Buying locally produced products is critical for employment creation, especially in a Namibian context. It is only Namibians who can devise the economic activities through promoting our local consumption. Although in many countries local businesses are the largest employers, in Namibia, this is not the case; however, we can still employ more people as our aggregate production will increase in the response to high consumption for local products. So, in other words, money creates employment and vice-versa.

If Namibians collectively decide to keep buying at home, such as buying locally made shoes; this is a form of employment creation in the leather industry. Maintaining this ‘buy local’ decision will more likely sustain employment in this industry and the entire local value chain. 

You can only guarantee employment for your grandchildren if you change your mindset, and start supporting and buying dresses and shirts made by your brothers and sisters. 

Not long ago, the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade launched a national campaign under the theme ‘Buy local, grow Namibia’, an effort made by the government to build confidence and get Namibians to buy locally produced goods and services, thereby contributing to boosting the local economy and creating jobs. 

These types of initiatives are not only being implemented in Namibia, but also in neighbouring countries across the region and continent. Earlier this year, South Africa hosted its 9th annual and first-ever virtual Buy local summit and expo. All these efforts are meant for building confidence in local consumption.

It is, therefore, imperative for all Namibians from the private and public sector to get behind the Buy local campaign and take collective responsibility for putting the economy back on its feet. 

Amidst Covid-19, failing to honour this call should be understood that the period for economic recovery for Namibia will be significantly longer and bitter – and economic hardship will continue striking.  

Just to close, government should strongly support existing local manufacturing, producers and infant industries by enforcing strict measures to curb illegal importation of goods that weaken the country’s local markets. 

- andreasfilippus92@gmail.com

 

•Andreas Filippus is a holder of the Bachelor of Economics from Namibia’s University of Science and Technology.


2021-11-17  Staff Reporter

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