As Namibia and the rest of the world emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, it goes without saying that there will be a lasting impact on the global and domestic economies. For this reason, Namibia stands at a pivotal moment in its economic development, according to the president of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Bisey /Uirab.
Speaking at the conclusion of the NCCI’s Board Strategic Forward Planning Session held on 15 and 16 February, /Uirab said: “I say pivotal because, in our view, the choices we make in the current challenging economic conditions will determine the future of our economic development as a nation. This is a very critical time for strong, decisive, innovative and forward-thinking leadership at all levels and structures of our economy – and as a newly elected- Board, in the Chamber, it is our desire to demonstrate that commitment”. The strategic session was conducted under the theme “Building a Resilient Economy Post Covid-19”.
/Uirab noted that the theme was carefully selected as it is during this time where NCCI can make the biggest difference and live up to its historical reputation for being nucleic to business sustainability and resiliency.
NCCI’s strategic session was conducted with the representation of various business and industry leaders, with representatives drawn from various NCCI branches across the country, specifically Arandis, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Ongwediva, Ondangwa, Helao Nafidi, Nkurenkuru, Rundu and Katima Mulilo.
Also present at the meeting were sector association leaders from mining, fisheries, agriculture, tourism, finance, aviation, manufacturing, construction, manufacturing and education.
In efforts to effectively drive its advocacy agenda, the NCCI strategic session established an NCCI Public-Private Dialogue standing committee. /Uirab explained this committee is tasked with reviewing new policies and legislation or amendments for impact on the competitiveness of the economy, as well as other socio-economic goals.
“Additionally, this forum will develop recommendations that will inform policy reviews on a pro-active basis, including horizontal interventions (impacting all business sectors alike) that will aim to enhance sustainability, productivity, ease of doing business and competitiveness. Further, this committee will develop guidelines to be used in monitoring, reviewing and effectively implementing interventions to enhance productivity and competitiveness,” said /Uirab.
He added that the committee will also make recommendations on the review of regulations and policies that may have unintended consequences on productivity, competitiveness and employment creation.
In addition to the scheduled quarterly meetings, /Uirab stated that a high-level meeting will be scheduled to be attended and chaired either by the Head of State or the Prime Minister, at the beginning of each year via this committee, to deliberate on the programme for the coming year, key actions needed for prioritisation whilst providing feedback on the accomplishments and challenges from the previous year.
“It is essential that the private sector and government establish and maintain a broader public-private dialogue forum, comprised of senior government officials and representatives of the private sector.
At last week’s strategic session the NCCI also established a Productivity Task Force, which has been directed to establish a platform for the private sector to engage government representatives for key focus sectors, to identify productivity constraints, propose collective solutions, define actions and those responsible for them and monitor their implementation.
Said /Uirab: “The NCCI Board, therefore, calls on members, the broader business fraternity with expertise in the respective areas, to volunteer to serve on the respective committees. This is the critical way in which businesses can become more involved in the work of the chamber and help strengthen its advocacy role as the representative voice of business Namibia”.
NCCI also coordinated with various sectoral bodies for a scheduled consultative virtual meeting with government today. The NCCI thus encourages and calls on the business sector to be part of this process by contacting the Chamber so that inputs can be obtained from the broader spectrum of Business Namibia for a collective position on this Bill.
/Uirab concluded that the NCCI Board committed to enhancing effective communication with its membership, particularly through its branch structures by way of allocation of regional assignments of the Board members to the respective geographical areas as arranged by the Chamber.