NCCI’s SOBA falls short on specifics

By Victor Angula |

The president of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Mr Bisey Uirab delivered his “State of Business Address” on 26 June 2023, which was something first of its kind.

That is to say, it was the first time a leader of the NCCI had delivered the SOBA, which is a statement in the same fashion as the one of the country’s President which is known as the State of the Nation Address (SONA), and also what regional Governors have lately been delivering, known as the State of the Region Address (SORA).

I really took time to read and digest the state of business address, and now I can give my critique on this SOBA.

Therefore in short I can say that while this SOBA was a good initiative, it really fell short.

This was supposed to be an opportunity for the NCCI president to present us (the media, academics, policy makers, and investors) with the real picture of the state of business in Namibia at this point in time.

Mr Uirab would have done this by sprinkling his SOBA with statistics and figures, since this is the best way to show us and let us see where we stand.

How many businesses closed down since the Covid-19 pandemic? How many businesses scaled down their operations as a result of the pandemic or the slowdown of the economy since 2016?

Namibia has how many businesses? And how many are in each sector (Micro, SME, corporate, multinational, etc.)?

How many businesses were created during the last three years?

Since jobs are created only (mostly) by businesses, how many people are employed in Namibia? How many are employed by businesses in comparison to those employed by Government, NGOs, etc., for instance? How many are casually employed or seasonally employed?

How many people lost their jobs as a result of Covid-19 or the economic slowdown of the past five years – or in the past year?

If a big part of the Namibian potential workforce is unemployed, what then is the level of poverty and hunger in this country?

The “state” of something is its condition. Giving a presentation of the state of the Namibian business sector without giving specific information showing us how the business condition looks like is a futile effort.

In a SOBA address of 9 pages, there is not even one number or figure. Businesses are all about numbers and money, calculations, and even projections.

Even while the event where the SOBA was presented served as a platform for stakeholder discussions, in getting first the real state of business by being shown some figures, that is where genuine and passionate discussions should have started.

The SOBA has failed to give us a glimpse of the general state of the economy. The SOBA seems to have been prepared without having consulted with an economist, or business analyst.

Next time the SOBA must be full of information that is specific and points to the fact that the Namibian business sector is sick and needs urgent medical attention.

– Victor Angula is the editor of Omutumwa News Online. He can be reached at: