More can be done to relax collateral and security requirements against loans as a way of increasing economic growth.

This is the view of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).

NCCI also believes that the government should explore more avenues in consultation with the financial services sector in order to improve economic productivity.

These concerns were raised by the NCCI’s leadership of Ongwediva during a visit by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration led by its Chairperson Natangwe Ithete who are on a fact-finding mission to towns in the Oshikoto, Oshana and Ohangwena regions.

NCCI’s leadership at the branch, headed by its secretary Ms Juliana Haimbodi, pointed out that there is a lot that the government can do, and by doing so enterprises will be better placed to swiftly access much needed loans for working capital, to fund asset and stock needs.

The meeting, that unusually took place on Sunday at Ongwediva with the branch leadership of the NCCI, which is the country’s national business sector representative body, used the opportunity to spotlight several stumbling blocks standing in the way of economic growth.

Although applauding the implementation of a credit guarantee scheme by government, the Chamber also feels that government should explore with the financial services sector more creative funding mechanisms tailored for the specific needs of Namibia’s enterprise sector and not just copy-and-paste products and practices from South Africa.

Growing security and the inactiveness on the part of the police to respond swiftly to reports of criminal activity, and to stem the smuggling of goods, including liquid fuel, from neighbouring countries, was another concern expressed by NCCI.

The Chamber also highlighted its concern about a skewed investment promotion strategy of government that favours foreign investors and ignores the importance of domestic investment.

NCCI feels that the decentralization of services is long overdue and cited the operations of the business regulatory authority BIPA as an example, lamenting that access to much needed services adds to the cost of doing business, especially for small enterprises in towns and villages across Namibia.

NCCI also bemoaned the fact that it is taking too long for changes to be ushered in that will make Namibia’s business landscape conducive for local entrepreneurs to start an enterprise, and to position already existing firms for growth.

In the photo: Ms Juliana Haimbodi (third from left) NCCI Ongwediva Branch Committee member and branch Secretary, engaging with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration.