Furniture factory for Kavango East

31 July 2019 | Business

MJ Tanko Investments plans to establish a furniture factory at Rundu that will assemble and repair school furniture.

MJ Tanko Investments director Mechitilde Mupiri says the assembly plant will work in collaboration with a manufacturing company based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mupiri says if everything goes according to plan, the project will kick off by the end of this year.

“For now we are just having meetings here and there; we still need to secure a piece of land and hopefully if everything goes as planned, the plant will be operational by end of this year,” Mupiri told Namibian Sun.

She said the idea was in response to a serious shortage of desks and chairs at schools in the region, which meant that children had to sit on the floor. Mupiri said they were also influenced by the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), which encouraged the youth to come up with innovative ideas that would assist the government in delivering goods and services to the people.

“We observed how children were sitting on bricks and on the floor in classrooms, which is not right. Every learner should have a chair to sit on and a desk to write on, which is why we are planning to have this plant to supply the schools with furniture and replace their broken ones,” she said. She said the furniture would be affordable and a significant number of local people would be employed at the plant, helping to reduce the high youth unemployment.

The unemployment rate in Kavango East currently stands at 62.5%.

“We have a high unemployment rate amongst the youth in the region and in the country and therefore through the establishment of the plant, we will employ fellow youth and help address this problem,” she said. Mupiri urged the various stakeholders to support their initiative and help make it a success.

MJ Tanko Investments' long-term goal is to export the products to neighbouring countries.

When contacted for comment, Kavango East education director Fanuel Kapapero said his office welcomed the project. Kapapero described the lack of furniture at schools as critical, adding that for the past three years there had been no budget for the procurement of school furniture.

“It is a great idea because it will assist our schools, as well as the ministry. I hope they finalise all their plans and start their project,” Kapapero said. However, he made it clear that procurement procedures would have to be followed and the ministry would not automatically start procuring from MJ Tanko Investments.

Kapapero said the Procurement Act encourages the procurement of readily available products and, therefore, MJ Tanko Investments would have a competitive advantage if their products and services were available in the region.



KENYA KAMBOWE

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