MIT decries business sector hostilities

• By Hilary Mare

THE Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) has this week said that an increasing trend of aggression towards a section of the business sector, especially foreign owned entities, has demonstrated itself worryingly, particularly in the last two weeks.

In a statement, the ministry highlighted that recognising that the business environment is troubled with increasing challenges both pre- and post- the Covid-19 era, intra-conflicts will only serve to worsen an already impaired environment.

“In addition, such intra-hostilities will ultimately erode overall business competitiveness, which will disable our country’s ability to trade effectively and efficiently within and across the borders. The MIT herewith denounce such increasing misunderstandings and humbly urge for the immediate dejection of such behaviour by all Namibians.

“In the same vein, the MIT would appreciate the usage of this platform to contextualise the matter of enterprise development within the context of increasing hostilities,” the ministry said adding that the challenge of enterprise development is universal across the business sector and therefore should not be labelled simply as local versus foreign-owned entities turf wars.

The ministry went on to say that collaborative partnerships between the MIT and the private sector as early as 2006 have evolved continuously to frame the issues better as well as the requisite solutions.

By 2010, the ministry said, these alliances yielded the first business sector reservations for local Namibians, which later on still needed both policy and legislative perfection in the case of the Namibia Competition Commission and Masmart/Walmart in 2011.

“These collaborative partnerships evolved into a Ministerial Committee launched in August 2020 consisting of the MIT, Ministry of Finance (and NAMRA), Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation (MLIREC), Ministry of Urban and Regional Development (MURD), Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security(MOHAISS), Social Security Commission (SSC) and The Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL).

“Consequently, these partnerships especially emanating from the Ministerial Committee are ensuring policy, legislative and monitoring and evaluation perfections through working on the draft regulations to accompany the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Bill (NIPFB) covering key aspects such as business sector reservations whilst introducing business inspectors with full responsibility to ensure business compliance and to investigate cross-sectoral policy matters. Business inspectors will not be new positions created but rather the MIT’s regional staff members who have been involved in business evaluation work all along,” further explained the ministry.

To this end, the challenges that infiltrates the cohesive development of the informal economy, start-ups and general entrepreneurship are being framed in a much better fashion, added the ministry.

“The development, which is current, of a National Policy on Informal Economy, Start-Ups and Entrepreneurship and its attendant Act is a policy target in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II and is slated to be finalised by the MIT in 2023. This Policy and Act will further enhance and concretise the ideals of the NIPFB as well as associated policy work such as the Namibia Equitable Empowerment Framework (NEEF).

“The approach as attributed above and built on foundations of formal collaborative relationships provides ample avenues for the identification of sustainable solutions across a multitude of stakeholders whilst not lending themselves to increasing business sector hostilities, which harm our competitiveness and investment attractiveness. The MIT will therefore implore the Namibian Nation to rather lend credence to such an approach as opposed to engaging ourselves in unformalised and at times haphazard and stakeholder deficient approaches that may lead us all into a strait jacket of harden feelings and heightened hostilities,” concluded the ministry.