Namibia should reduce imports: Schlettwein

09 Dec 2014 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibia should grow its secondary and tertiary industries in order to double its manufacturing output and reduce imports.
This was the view of Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein during the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)’s presidential address and year-end gala dinner here on Monday.
Citing a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, the minister said although Namibia has one of the more stable economies in Africa, its ballooning import bill could in the long term pose a major threat to Government expenditure.
“The Fund is of the view that Namibia could double its manufacturing output from six per cent annually, and reduce its rising import bill by 10 per cent, if focus is put on growing secondary and tertiary industries,” he stated.
Schlettwein said his ministry aims to reduce Namibia’s dependence on exporting raw materials and then to determine the opportunities for promoting secondary and tertiary sectors within the country, regionally and in globally-integrated value and supply-chains.
While focusing on promoting the economic growth of the country as a whole, his ministry has also not overlooked the importance of ensuring that all Namibian people are able to benefit from the increasing economic prosperity.
“Contributing to poverty alleviation and the narrowing of the income inequality gap can be achieved through fuelling the balanced economic performance of the country, and supporting the creation of opportunities and employment,” said the minister.
Schlettewein added that domestic entrepreneurship in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, which often acts as an effective solution to unemployment and poverty, should be promoted.
“We ought to focus on boosting the competitiveness of our economy as a whole, and particularly that of the productive sector,” he noted.