A top official in the Oshana Regional Government says that no ideas have so far come from the community level calling for the establishment of industries in the region.
Oshana’s Chief Regional Officer Mr Martin Elago puts the blame on the shoulders of constituencies for the region’s failure to set up manufacturing plants over the years since Independence.
Oshakati, where the regional government is based, has not managed to set up a single factory ever. This is despite the fact that there is only 10 years left to go for Vision 2030 to be realised.
Vision 2030 predicts that by the year 2030 Namibia will be an industrialised country.
Instead Oshakati, which is the commercial centre of the four northern regions, has no factory to date. That is to say, there is still nothing made in Oshakati.
For the year 2020/2021 the central government has budgeted N$243 million to be used in capital projects in Oshana region. But out of all the identified projects there is not one which has to do with manufacturing.
“We work with a system whereby ideas for development come from the CDC (constituency development committees). The constituencies know their needs,” says Mr Elago to the question why the region has not put manufacturing on the priority list.
“The CDCs are made up of community members, youths, people with disabilities, and others. They come together and say we want this and this. They then take two projects and send them to the RDCC (regional development coordinating committee,) from where the projects are then sent to the central government for implementation.
“At the regional government our role is just to coordinate.
“This then points to the lack of awareness at the CDC level. They need to be advised that, look every time you just bring up useless projects instead of those that have to do with manufacturing. You are not initiating job creating activities, as the community you are sleeping.”
And Elago says that it is the role of the media to advise the CDC.
Meanwhile Oshana region has the best shopping malls in the north of Namibia. Instead of setting up factories, the three towns of Oshana only build shopping malls; which points to the culture of consumption as opposed to production.
IN THE PHOTO: Is one of the shopping complexes of Oshakati, which, not surprisingly, is home to multiple shops which sell foreign-made goods.