Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

25 January 2013

Namibia: NCCI Hosts Business Climate Review Seminar

The Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) will next month host the first-ever Business Climate Review Seminar where key challenges facing different sectors of the economy will be discussed.

CEO, Taara Shaanika told Journalists on Thursday that the Chamber cannot continue doing business as usual as if we are in a normal environment. He said the political and social consequences of challenges such as high unemployment rate, huge inequalities and poor access to opportunities can be costly if they are not addressed timely.

Shaanika said, as a business representative organisation, the NCCI is determined to have issues that have a negative impact on the economy such as labour unrest, government bureaucracy, inadequate access to skills, unfavourable labour legislations, high unemployment levels, and slow movement towards regional economic integration, resolved through effective, results-oriented public-private sector engagements.

"This is going to be the primary focus of our activities for 2013," he said adding that for far too long, the private sector has been proposing a formalised dialogue between Government and private sector without much response from Government. "This year we have made it our primary responsibility to have our engagement formalised and achieve results which are beneficial to our economy and our people."

The NCCI supremo further talked of the desire to instil confidence in the public especially the youth to become entrepreneurs. He said there is a growing perception that one only gets a Government contract if you know somebody very well in a given Ministry or if you bribe someone in Government.

"Media reports about tenders being awarded to businesses which may not have been the most suitable ones to get such tender but simply because some Government officials have personal interests in such companies, are indicative of something wrong in our system. These reports also create a perception that our system is corrupt and discourage our people from pursuing Government contracts in a fair and just manner."

Shaanika also said if the local economy is to grow at a faster rate and join the league of economies which are growing at a rate of between 7 to 9 % annually, the country has to address some of these fundamental challenges and work at a pace which is in tandem with the urgency needed to arrest the socio-economic ills facing it.

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