Special Economic Zones framework imminent

By Hilary Mare

MINISTER of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu has said that her ministry is on course to finalise the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Policy and accompanying legislation in the current financial year.
The objective of the policy framework for the Special Economic Zones model for Namibia is to set policy provisions that define the governance structure, applicable investment incentives as well as to guide the transition from Economic Processing Zones (EPZ) and manufacturing incentives regimes to the SEZ incentives.
“The framework further provides measures aimed at strengthening the investment incentive policy function. The policy framework provides key input to the next stage, namely the drafting of an enabling SEZ Act,” Iipumbu said.
Iipumbu further highlighted that the pandemic has also unlocked opportunities and presents outlooks around domestic production capacities in various areas and it is important to optimise these economic elements and translate them into innovative ventures for economic sustainability.
“MIT’s business support development initiatives have been customised to form part of the Covid-19 countrywide recovery plan. The crisis will have a profound negative impact on economic growth but it is our belief that together with you as our key stakeholders we have an opportunity to reposition and explore immediate and recovery support to our economy.
“The ministry as the custodian for business development and support in general have made considerable effort to assist entrepreneurs in several ways especially during the early stages of the pandemic and continues to work with strategic partners in order to provide the much needed support to our entrepreneurs,” she explained.
Confidente understands that government has also adopted various policies geared towards supporting especially the private sector to play its role in setting the economy on a better growth trajectory.

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In this regard, Iipumbu explained that her ministry will continue to use these policies in its quest to enhance industrial capacity and to optimise market access for locally made products.

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“Government also seeks to promote SMEs development and economic inclusiveness.
In doing so, the informal sector remains a priority in terms of policy certainty and support by the ministry.

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The ministry is therefore working on a supportive legislation aimed at aiding informal economy participants to form part of the mainstream economy sector.

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“The policy and its accompanying strategy will further seek to address challenges faced by informal economy including infrastructural deficit, entrepreneurial skills development through our development programmes such as Empretec Namibia, and institutional support.”
Conclusively, Iipumbu said: “To place the Namibian economy on a rigorous and sustainable growth path, the Namibian government and the MIT in particular stands ready to provide support to the economy within the scope of its mandate. Overall, the recovery of the Namibian economy requires a multifaceted approach and I trust that this meeting will support that course through robust dialogue and inputs to the process of building a stronger Namibian economy based on improved fundamentals”.