The Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) has asked the head of state President Hage Geingob to ensure that the Government will collaborate more with the private sector in an effort to lift up the country’s economy.

Namibia’s economy has been on a down swing for the past five years, and the Covid-19 pandemic has just hammered more nails in the coffin of what used to be a thriving economy in southern Africa.

As Namibia is poised to emerge out of the deadly phase of Winter-Covid-19 variants, the national leadership of NCCI met with the head of state yesterday to discuss the way forward.

In his speech the president of NCCI Mr Bisey Uirab, who was accompanied by a strong delegation of 13 business leaders under his stewardship, told President Geingob that together they can help lead the country out of crisis and into a brighter future.

“What we ask of the Government is to collaborate more effectively with the Private Sector in our nation’s economic development as a national cause,” Uirab said.

“Comrade President, when we all suffered with the crisis that jeopardised public order and security, it’s the private sector that is being called upon to contribute to this national cause of combating the pandemic. Government and the private sector agreed that there was a need for all of us to cooperate and work closely to overcome this national challenge.”

Uirab further told the head of state that NCCI has committed itself to support and ensure that Namibian businesses remain competitive both nationally and internationally.

“We thus have rededicated ourselves to give special attention to the depleting SMEs sector as we believe they are the pillars and cornerstones of our economy. The Namibian Government has been quite responsive to introduce practical immediate measures to assist the business sector to weather the current economic turmoil.

“However, mid to long-term support measures that address the key hurdles barring the re-emergence of a vibrant SMEs sector also need to be considered.”

Additionally, Uirab said, the NCCI continues to play a leading role in working closely with other “sectoral bodies in order to drive a unified and common approach to jointly address issues that affect Namibian businesses.”

In an effort to enhance the NCCI policy advocacy, strengthen stakeholder relations, innovatively enhance economic productivity and competitiveness, Uirab said that they have established a strategic roadmap with five (5) advocacy committees that will be engaging decision-makers at different levels of Government.

“We are happy to inform you Comrade President that we held a very fruitful meeting with the Right Honourable Prime Minister and key economic ministers on Monday, specifically to discuss how we can better coordinate collaboration between the private sector and the Government.

“We generally agreed to put in place a mechanism for collaboration on issues at sectoral levels with the relevant ministries.”

However, Uirab emphasised that the need for high-level engagement as was proposed for fast tracking policy implementation and certainty “is more critical now than ever”.

Uirab listed several key policies requiring speed traction, such as, For Investor Retention and Attraction: i) Namibia Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF),

ii) Special Economic Zones (incentives),

iii) Single Window,

iv) and Integrated Client Services Facility (One Stop Shop).

“If we can finalise these, and provide policy certainty, both domestic and foreign investors will come naturally,” he stated.

“For our own industries, the NIPA, and Trade Management Bills need to be fast-tracked.

“Finally, Comrade President, we have no doubt that we are all focused on reigniting our economy and reasserting our leadership and competitiveness. That too, will hinge on the resilience of business and the partnership of Government.

“It will take thoughtful action by leaders both in the public and private sector, prioritizing the right policies at the right time. It will take prudence to avoid sweeping or unworkable proposals that would hold back our economic recovery.

“And it will take the courage and collaboration needed to govern with the country’s interests – and our collective future – at heart.”

In the photo: The strong delegation of NCCI leaders meeting with President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday.