‘School uniform project at advanced stage’

12 April 2021 | Business

Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu has said the local school uniform project aimed to embargo the importation of school uniforms is at an advanced stage and will be launched this year.

Iipumbu on Thursday responded to questions posed in the National Assembly by PDM parliamentarian Inna Hengari. Hengari wanted to what was delaying the implementation of the 2013 cabinet decision to phase out the importation of public school and nurses uniforms into Namibia, which was supposed to be implemented in 2015.

“This move was projected to create over 8 000 jobs for Namibians and significantly boost the local manufacturing scene. However, almost eight years later, this Cabinet decision has still not been realised,” Hengari said.

Iipumbu said they have been heavily constrained by fiscal consolidation since 2015 but have made some progress, including the completion of the main centre in Nkurenkuru, where the project is set to be launched in the next three months.

She said while the project was initially set to benefit 8 000 tailors, it is scaled down to 54, as these are the only people identified by the ministry currently with machineries and already producing uniforms.

Iipumbu said government’s intervention is to empower those already on production by offering training and support to ensure that they beef up the volume so that by the time borders are closed, the country will have enough production capacity.

PRODUCTION CAPABILITY

She said the ministry is also targeting to open centres in at least two other regions this year, if resources allow.

She explained that following that issuance of the cabinet directive in 2013, the government realised that there was a need to first enhance local productive capabilities by ensuring a comprehensive medium-term outlook of both human and infrastructure productive capabilities, which were sorely lacking.

They have since identified places and capacity in all 14 regions where other centres will be based and will submit for cabinet approval and recommendation the requisite framework for the import phasing out strategy based on experience once the project is launched.

The framework will be drafted within the relevant policy space as ascribed by local and regional trading arrangements. - Nampa

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