Despite the effects of Covid-19 on both the global domestic economy, as well as a tightened fiscus envelope, the trade ministry has turned headwinds into certain opportunities.
Ministry spokesperson Elijah Mukubonda believes there are many opportunities in the future to ensure the growth at home
strategy is a success.
The strategy’s key features include local value addition, targeted and phased approach, regional value chains, African approach and bilateral cooperation, infant industry protection and the safeguarding of policy space, continuous reform to promote competitiveness, as well as increased value-added support.
Mukubonda said the ministry created 11 sectoral growth strategies and currently has four associations carrying out extensive work in four sectors, namely: jewellery and gemstones, charcoal, metal fabrication and cosmetics.
“The biomass sector is also at an advanced stage of implementation. The launching and gazzetting National Automotive Assembly and Development Policy,
launched in 2019, and a Namibian version of Automotive Production and Development programme recently boosted the automotive sector,” he stated in his response to this publication. The spokesperson added the ministry is moving into green hydrogen and critical raw material opportunities, as well as the local manufacturing of coffins to better serve the public during the pandemic and beyond.
Mukubonda noted manufacturing is heavily dependent on inputs from the country’s natural resource endowments, entailing value addition activities, namely: diamond and
semi-precious stones cutting and polishing; beneficiation of basic non-ferrous metals, focusing on the smelting of copper and zinc; production of table and fine salt; the processing of meat and grain mill products for the food sub-sector; production of beer and soft drinks (beverages); production of animal feed and other food products, as well as other simple manufactures.
According to him, Namibia, since December 2020, revisited the incentive regime to ensure a much more comprehensive and elaborate approach – as previously, most attention was on the fiscal incentive regime.
Thus, new initiatives, such as the incentive regime under the special economic zones, he said, will represent this new approach to bring about successful industrialisation. rned from the Covid-19 pandemic, Mukubonda said the pandemic unlocked opportunities and presented outlooks in particular around domestic production capacities in various areas, optimised economic dynamism and translated them into innovative ventures for economic sustainability.
The ministry as the custodian for business development and support, in general, made considerable effort to assist entrepreneurs in several ways, especially during the early stages of the pandemic, and continued to work with strategic partners to provide the much-needed support to entrepreneurs.
“Many lessons were learned in critical areas of interventions made by the ministry to encourage a conducive working environment for business trading in the
country, specifically programmes designed to assist MSMEs to withstand the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic (StartUp Survival Grant, SDG Impact Facility, SADC Trade Related Facility, etc),” he added.