Staff Reporter |

In light of the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have questioned the role of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development in the efforts to create a conducive working environment for businesses trading in Namibia.

The pandemic has turned lives upside down in every sector – industrialisation and trade are not an exception. As a result, the Ministry’s Corporate Communications Manager Mr Elijah Mukubonda says that “the Ministry remains committed to deliver on its mandate and a number of developments to enhance a conducive working environment for business.”

Mukubonda states that “too many are the interventions made by MIT to encourage a conducive working environment for business trading in the country. Specifically, programmes designed to assist MSMEs to withstand the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic (StartUp Survival Grant, SDG Impact Facility, SADC Trade Related Facility, etc).”

Among others, he says, the Ministry:

“1) Made amendments to the legislations to allow crucial business to operate as ‘Essential Service Providers’ for much needed services to our people. We also did some amendments on the sale of alcohol in order to maintain and minimize the risk of the Virus infection.

“2) Working with our Development Partners, the Ministry rolled out the Katutura StartUp Centre. Enrolling 120 Start-Ups of which 80% are female, we provided 600 COVID-19 Start-Up Grants of N$ 15,000 each, a total of Nine Million Namibia Dollar (N$ 9,000,000) was disbursed to mostly informal Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and we distributed 1,600 PPE Kits to Informal Economy Operators across the 14 Regions of our country.

“3) The Ministry also with the support of the EU through the SADC Trade Related Facility capacitated 45 Namibian firms through the Industrial Upgrading and Modernization Scheme to a total value of Eleven Point Three Million Namibia Dollar (N$ 11,308,000).

“4) The Ministry also established, with key partners the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility and disbursed Two Point Five Million Namibia Dollar (N$ 2,500,000) to 32 Entities during December 2020.

“5) The implementation of the ‘Retail Charter’ and the GS1 accredited Bar Code Centre is very vital to ensure that Namibian products find shelf space in local retail shops and enhance traceability of locally manufactured goods ‘Growth at Home’ 5 within the global market. I urged NTF to follow up on our submission and give feedback;

“6) Namibia Competition Commission has launched the National Competition Policy 2020–2025. The policy can be broadly defined as a governmental policy that promotes or maintains the level of competition in the market.”

In the photo: Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade’s corporate communication manager Elijah Mukubonda.