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Protestors demand action on Chinese businesses

2022-05-19  Loide Jason

Protestors demand action on Chinese businesses
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Followers of the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters and Affirmative Repositioning Movement yesterday took to the streets to air their grievances against Chinese shop owners and how they conduct business in Namibia.

The protestors served trade and industry and  home affairs ministries, the Chinese business community in Chinatown and the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) with numerous demands. The protest follows the burning of N$5 million worth of counterfeit goods by NamRA and the arrests of two activists Micheal Amushelelo and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.

Secretary General for the NEFF Kalimbo Iipumbu accused Chinese nationals of money laundering and tax invasion and called on NamRA to conduct a tax audit of the Chinese owned businesses. 

“We have information at our disposal that the Chinese business people trading in these shopping complexes have stored billions of Namibian currency in boxes in various storerooms in those shops. We know the specific shops and the storerooms where money is being hidden ready for shipping to China. We demand the removal of the money with the assistance of the Namibian Police,” he said. 

Iipumbu explained that Chinese businesspeople in Namibia do not utilise banking services here, which is a deliberate move to avoid paying taxes and cheating the State from benefiting from their business transactions. 

“We demand an audit of their books and compliance with our relevant tax laws.” 

The member of parliament said Chinese businesspeople trade and sleep at their shops. He demanded that they be removed from the shopping complex as it is not a residential area but an industrial zone for trading. 

“Therefore, we demand the immediate stop to sleeping here and the removal of beddings today. They must find accommodation elsewhere, like in the informal settlements or backyard flats of black people to boost the economy by paying rent,” he demanded.

The protestors also accused the Chinese nationals of sexual harassment of female employees. The group also expressed their dismay regarding the exploitation of workers within the Chinese business community.

“We noted the exploitation of Namibian workers by the arrogant and racist Chinese in these complexes owned and administered by Chinese. Our poor black people are being exploited like animals; with low wages such as N$400, with no benefits and privileges,” claimed Iipumbu.

Another grievance made by the group is that Chinese business owners have no regard for the country’s constitution, labour laws and no concern for human rights. “We demand employment contracts for all workers,” they stated. 

Stina Wu, a prominent entrepreneur in the Chinese business community promised to channel the petition to the relevant authorities for action. After receiving and signing the petition, she said Namibia is a friendly and peaceful country and that is why she invested here.

NamRA

“We demand the refund of the products burned by NamRA at the value of N$5 million, which belongs to the ‘order with me’ generation.” 

They called for NamRA commissioner Sam Shivute to declare his assets as it is alleged that he owns two shops in Chinatown, hence his reluctance to act on Chinese businesses. 

The group further urged NamRA to institute an operation against the counterfeit products at the Chinatown complex.

For the Chinese business community, the protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the imported and locally manufactured counterfeit goods by the Chinese businesses based in Namibia, while they are still allowed to trade with those goods with no objection from the authorities. Shivute received the petition from the protestors.

Trade

The group then marched to the trade ministry to hand over their petition to minister Lucia Iipumbu. They stated their concern at the establishment of complexes like Chinatown that only benefits foreign nationals. 

“We call on the ministry to get serious with the development of industries for our local businesses, particularly those resorting to counterfeit goods. We demand strict regulations on the registration and operations of companies by foreign nationals. We demand the ministry stop importation of all products into the country and rather facilitate domestic manufacturing and production,” read Iipumbu.

He further cautioned the minister against criminals under the false pretence of investors like “Ernest Adjovi who was convicted of defrauding the country under her watch”.

“We demand the closure of all Chinese retailers and only be allowed to trade as wholesalers. Retailing business must be preserved for our local and domestic markets. We demand the deregistration of foreign businesses that do not pay tax, do not bank with our local banks and do not comply with our tax laws. They must pack and leave.” 

The minister received the petition saying she will respond to the demands in due course.


2022-05-19  Loide Jason

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