WHILE the Namibian government is continually engaging its Chinese counterparts to invest in the manufacturing industry in Namibia to add value to raw materials, many local consumers are shunning products made in China.
The Hardap Regional Council, in an urgent request for tenders for the supply of mattresses to the regional education directorate, expressly stated that "No China Town mattress (quality mattress only)" would be allowed.
The control officer of the regional council, Simasiku Maketo, told The Namibian that this was only a precautionary measure to ensure that the mattresses supplied would be of good quality.
Maketo said since small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are actively encouraged to put in bids for the tenders, it was deemed important to include the quality requirement to ensure that tenderers do not go for the cheapest options.
"We do not want to put out [new] tenders for mattresses after a year or two as we have other pressing needs to attend to," Maketo said.
He was quick to add that the quality requirement does not only apply to Chinese products.
The advertisement for the supply of 1 300 mattresses came at a time when China's minister of commerce, Chen Deming, was in Namibia on a three-day visit to strengthen trade ties between the two countries.
Many Namibians regard products sold in Chinese shops as of very low quality.
At a meeting with Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein, Chen said his country was looking at investing more in processing and manufacturing in Namibia.
While expressing satisfaction with the level of growth in the cooperation between the two countries, Schlettwein commented that he would like to see similar partnerships in the manufacturing and other industries.