Nekundi lashes SOE imports

The deputy minister of public enterprises has lashed out at timber looters, as well as SOEs and private entities that import products that are available locally.

31 May 2019 | Local News

State-owned enterprises board members will effectively be blacklisted if they allow the importing of goods that can be procured locally, says public enterprises deputy minister Veikko Nekundi.

He also made reference to the issue of timber looting, saying the trees should not be shipped out of the country, but should instead be used to manufacture products locally.

“All the school desks and chairs are made of wood. Don't tell me Namibia does not have trees that can make wood, which would be a hypocritical mindset,” Nekundi said.

He also issued a stern warning to private entities that procure goods from other countries, saying Namibians should no longer be job-creators for people in other countries.

Nekundi, who described the issue as tantamount to corporate hypocrisy, said this should no longer be tolerated, adding that as long as the ministry holds the right to appoint these boards, such drastic measures will be implemented.

“You take from a Namibian and take it to South Africa or somewhere else; it cannot be tolerated in a free and independent Namibia,” Nekundi said.

“We are sending out a stern warning to board members who are serving on public enterprises that if they are not changing that, they will be blacklisted. They will no longer be appointed to serve on any boards as long as we are in charge of appointing those boards.”

Nekundi made the remarks on Wednesday during the Women Action for Development (WAD) field day and graduation ceremony, which was held in Nkurenkuru in Kavango West.

He said that both state and private companies operating in Namibia should procure goods and services locally, if they are available. Nekundi also took a swing at private companies.

“Time has come; you are either a corporate in the Namibian market to appreciate the products and services or you simply 'chip out',” Nekundi said.

He explained that every imported product results in money leaving the country and jobs being created elsewhere, while there are many youth entrepreneurs in Namibia who do not get support.

“We cannot export our money to create jobs in other countries; we have to support local entrepreneurs,” he said.

“For that matter, some of these public enterprises are being subsidised with taxpayers' money, including by these entrepreneurs whom they do not want to support; it's a hypocrisy, its corporate hypocrisy.

“This equally goes for the private enterprises. Namibians spend their money keep these enterprises flourishing, while what they procure is imported. It cannot be. We cannot have corporate hypocrisy,” Nekundi said.

Nekundi said government would continue to strive to have a conducive environment for people to operate in.

He urged the WAD field graduates to not only think about being employed by the state, but to be innovative and start their own businesses.


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