After Team Namibia released a media statement last week stating that it was not happy with the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework draft bill which is currently receiving urgent attention by Government, Omutumwa reached out to the Chairperson of Team Namibia to provide more clarity on their unhappiness.
Omutumwa: Can you specify which sections of the NEEEB are you not happy with?
Mr Pieter van Niekerk (Team Namibia Chairperson): Team Namibia is committed to the success of Namibian businesses and what we are promoting is a healthy decision-making process, where thorough discussions and studies ensure we create the best possible future for our children.
We do not want to do something that could see Namibians to have fewer businesses and thus less jobs than we do currently. Some of the details of NEEEB that need more analysis specifically are:
* Forceful relinquishment of ownership;
*Management/director demands without necessary experience and skills;
*Powers granted to Ministers by the Bill; and
*Severity of penalties (25 and 50 years jail time).
Omutumwa: You indicated that NEEEB threatens security of business ownership; can you explain more on that?
Van Niekerk: No foreigner would want to invest in Namibian businesses where the shareholding (their partners) and management cannot be selected by that investor – which is what the bill intends to achieve.
By just having the discussion that current owners must relinquish some of their shareholding, new investors will immediately jump to another country; we do not even know how many investments (i.e. jobs) we have lost just by discussing this subject in the media.
Omutumwa: You say NEEEB will do more harm than good, and you believe there are alternatives that can be explored to address poverty, unemployment and economic inequalities in Namibia; what alternatives are those?
Van Niekerk: We put the argument forward that these types of policies have done damage in other countries, like Venezuela and Zimbabwe. We merely plead that proper economic analyses are done to determine what the effect could be should we follow this course.
The alternatives that have been successful in uplifting people are:
*Better education for the people, even assisted by private sector, with clear goals;
*Tax incentives for organisations that uplift the less fortunate;
*Aggressive investment policies for industrialisation and agriculture projects;
*Ensure income from organisations (tax) ends up with the people who need it the most, as effectively as possible.
These are but a few alternatives; sooner or later we would need to look to the future together, and not to the past separately.