Team Namibia worried about loopholes in NEEEB

Despite strides made since national reconciliation began 30 years ago, inequality remains entrenched in Namibia.

03 March 2021 | Economics

The framework sets the stage for substantive abuse of power, corruption, nepotism and mismanagement. Economic Policy Research Association

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU

Team Namibia did not spare its voice and joined other industry and private sector players in questioning the latest National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill (NEEEB) as an appropriate economic strategy.

Given the current economic crisis, Team Namibia believes the document which was introduced in 2017, revised in 2019 and 2021 include concepts which will stop money coming into the country thus meaning less jobs.

Despite strides made since national reconciliation began 30 years ago, inequality remains entrenched in Namibia.

According to Team Namibia’s chairperson Pieter van Niekerk, “economic empowerment is not a new concept in Namibia, and most residents and business people support it. When we have prosperity for all, there is a lesser burden on the state for social safety nets, more skilled workers in the labour pool, greater local support of local goods and services, and lower crime rates. However, in its current form, NEEEB goes against any concept of unity.”

Some preliminary analyses have been done by organisations on the final draft of NEEEB, questioning its constitutionality and describing the document as “vague and draconian”.

Loopholes

According to the Economic Policy Research Association (EPRA), the current framework puts the most disadvantaged Namibians at risk, because it “sets the stage for substantive abuse of power, corruption, nepotism and mismanagement. It actively discourages foreign and domestic investment and encourages capital outflow.”

In 2019, a high-level panel of economic experts, appointed by President Hage Geingob to develop a strategy for national economic recovery, delivered a huge final report which stated: “Creating policy certainty and removing bottlenecks will result in an improved economic and investment climate, which is paramount for job creation.”

The panel further explained: “The key to sustainable and inclusive growth in Namibia will entail increasing the participation and employment of more people into the private sector and in particular, in more complex industries that have the potential to sustain higher wages.”

However, this explanation fails to acknowledge that when security of ownership is threatened, fewer new investments are made, private sector disinvests over time and employment opportunities are further reduced, EPRA said.

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