20 May 2014 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 20 MAY (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Tuesday said too many goods are still being imported into Namibia, and called on Namibian businesses to do more to increase the retail space of local products on their shelves.
The Head of State, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein at the official opening of a multi-million dollar shopping mall in Tsumeb, said to achieve this, Namibia must ensure that procurement policies that seek to perpetuate market dominance practices in favour of foreign firms and suppliers are changed.
He added that it is important to ensure that local producers and manufacturers have the necessary capacity to meet the delivery demands and requirements of the retailers.
He also called on Namibian retailers and consumers to play their part in supporting the growth of local industries to create employment locally and boost the distribution and consumption of more goods and services produced at home.
I believe that such an approach will lead to sustained industrial and economic growth, the creation of more employment opportunities for our people and bring about accelerated income re-distribution and poverty reduction, the President noted.
The Head of State further encouraged Namibian firms to produce high quality goods that are competitive in local and export markets.
In order to provide support to local companies, the Tender Board Act was amended to promote preferential procurement of goods and services produced by Namibians and Namibia-based manufacturers and suppliers, he added.
Where local producers are facing technological challenges to meet certain quality standards, our Government has put in place various support programmes and interventions to address such gaps, he said.
Pohamba stressed that while the Namibian Government has identified the sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and logistics as priority areas for development during the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) period, other sectors such as wholesale and retail are equally important and make a significant contribution to the growth of the country's economy.
The retail sector, he added, also contributes to wealth and employment creation, especially where such sectors are closely linked to and support priority areas.
He said the operations of the shopping mall will generate revenue for the government and thereby contribute to the building of physical infrastructure and human capital, as well as the improvement of competitiveness in the Namibian economy.
The shopping mall, which was constructed by Reydev Holdings Namibia, has created 200 direct jobs. Ninety-five per cent of the retail space in the mall is reserved and will be taken up by Namibian retailers and businesses.