The Namibian (Windhoek)

7 September 2012

Namibia: Over-Regulation Hurts Namibia's Competitiveness

TRADE and Industry Minister Hage Geingob says over-regulation of foreign direct investment may have decreased Namibia's competitiveness.

"We may have over-regulated, but this was done in the best interest of Namibia. But, we're doing good in governance and protection of property," Geingob remarked while opening the 57th Keetmanshoop Agricultural and Industrial Show yesterday.

The amendments to the foreign direct investment policy were made to ensure things are reserved in certain areas for Namibians, said Geingob.

The recently released global competitiveness index places Namibia 92nd overall out of 144 countries - down from 83rd last year.

This is the second consecutive year that Namibia has plunged nine positions. In 2010-11, the country was ranked as the 74th most competitive worldwide. Stressing the importance of smart partnerships, Geingob condemned the European Union for forcing "colonial relations" on Namibia.

"They say we're smart partners, but set deadlines for us to sign [the Economic Partnership Agreement] or to be punished. Smart partnership is a win-win situation," said Geingob.

Saying no Namibian should be left out of benefitting from the country's wealth, Geingob said: "If the Government fails to embrace all people through smart partnership, it will be doing as the apartheid regime, and this will come back to haunt us. Government must look at regions that are lacking behind through smart partnership for Namibians to enjoy peace and stability."

Geingob urged businesspeople, especially small and medium entrepreneurs, to work smartly to deliver results.

"Let's do things differently to achieve good goals," he said.

He said the Government had a range of generous programmes and facilities to help small and medium enterprises to grow. Recently, Karas governor Bernadus Swartbooi said last year's show recorded a 400 per cent growth in visitor numbers and 200 per cent growth in the number of exhibitors.

According to Swartbooi, the Show Society has raised N$400 000 to host this year's show.

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