Namibia: Govt Shuts Down Investors' Website

26 February 2021

THE Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation has closed down the NamBizOne portal, which was launched to improve Namibia's investment attractiveness and ranking on the World Bank's ease of doing business index.

The website was launched in 2017 and was operational for a year only.

It was developed by the government of Singapore for free in a bid to improve Namibia's standing as an investment destination.

The NamBizOne website was to act as one of the first steps towards creating an e-services platform through which investors could register their businesses and access relevant information on government licensing and regulatory requirements, and formed part of the project to roll out an integrated client service system connected to various government departments.

Further, the website was to provide guidance to investors on submitting investment proposal, incorporating a business, registering for tax and social security and applying for all relevant licences.

Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu this week confirmed that the website was closed down.

Iipumbu said this was done after the ministry revamped its website and created another "one-stop shop" in December.

The new investors' website can be accessed on https://services.icsf.gov.na.

"With the launch of the Namibia one-stop shop, it was agreed that the portal should close in November 2020, because it involved a duplication of the information," she said.

Iipumbu said before its eventual shutdown, the website was used frequently by citizens and investors "and provided the much-needed stop-gap measure as we were revamping our website and launching the Integrated Client-Service Facility".

The minister said with the use of this facility to ease doing business in Namibia, and the establishment of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development board, the ministry and its associated agencies "are ensuring that both domestic and foreign investors are catered for".

"The ministry is also finalising the Namibia Investment Promotion Act as well as the National Policy on Special Economic Zones. These activities and interventions are primed to provide clear investment policies, a legislative framework to boost Namibia's competitiveness, and ease of doing business," Iipumbu said.

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) director Graham Hopwood, however, criticised the new site, saying it "does not say what services it offers and is visually unappealing".

"It simply has registration links for the public and agents, but does not explain why a person should register and what services or assistance they might receive. There is no information about Namibia in general or investment opportunities," he said.

"We urgently need a website which would provide key details about the Namibian economy, investment opportunities as well as providing access to services. Namibia is crying out for investment as made clear in recent statements from the minister of finance and the Bank of Namibia governor, as government spending can no longer drive economic growth," he said.

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