The Town Council of Ondangwa and the town’s NCCI branch last Friday held a poorly attended meeting with the town’s business community.

Apart from the poor attendance, of which only 43 people turned up, the meeting was described as “boring” by one business person who attended it.

While the town, as the entire country, is going through some of the severest economic challenges ever seen before, instead of calling for a meeting where the people would brainstorm over the town’s economic challenges and collectively seek for solutions, the meeting was merely used by speakers to explain their job descriptions.

After the Mayor Mr Paavo Amwele delivered his welcoming remarks, the town’s CEO Mr Ismael Namgongo introduced the town council members and explained the role of the town’s administrative staff as well as giving a summary of the town’s 5-year strategic plan.

Then the chairperson of NCCI’s Ondangwa branch Mr Mario Upite introduced the NCCI leadership and explained their mandate.

Next was DBN’s Oshana regional manager Mr Fillemon Nditya who related the bank’s mandate and explained some of the services on offer during the Covid-19 period.

Mr Allan Matengu, Ondangwa’s FNB business relationship manager was next. Matengu explained his bank’s readiness to assist their clients whose businesses are affected by Covid-19.

Town councilor Nicodemus Amadhila was next on the podium to explain the role and importance of business in the development of Ondangwa during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amadhila stated that the council will not increase its tariffs from June 2021, and that residents will be given an opportunity to make arrangements with the council so that those in arrears will not be made to pay any interest on their arrears.

Then it was time for open discussions, whereby only four people stood up to give input. One resident spoke about the fact that senior citizens were being charged the same as everyone else for the town’s services instead of being given relief.

Another resident spoke about the fact that small businesses in the informal sector are neglected and they have nowhere to go to for assistance during this Covid-19 period.

Another resident asked the town council to remove street vendors who sell in front of his shop because they are depriving him of income.

Another resident spoke about the fact that commercial banks in Oshana region have become notorious for suspicious robbery of their clients after people have withdrawn large sums of money.

“Is it not possible that bank employees could be made to leave their phones at the door, because they could be the ones who make contact with criminals to notify them of clients who are walking out of the bank with large amounts of money,” he said.

In response, Mr Matengu said that it was advisable that people make use of online transaction services instead of withdrawing huge amounts of cash and risk being robbed.

After the CEO remarked that all the suggestions and concerns raised from the floor will be taken into consideration, it was time for town councilor Ms Julia Kapia to give the vote of thanks, and the one and half hour meeting came to an end.

In the photo: Ondangwa Mayor Paavo Amwele welcoming the business people at Ondangwa Trade and Exhibition Centre.