Locally made construction products a niche market: Schlettwein

21 May 2015 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) - Locally made products for green investments in the construction industry could be a niche market to tap into, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein says.
He was speaking during the second day of the national workshop on greening the construction sector in Namibia on Wednesday.
The Finnish Embassy and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, as well as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) hosted the event.
“Given our potential in renewable energy, locally produced solutions for green investments in the construction industry are in itself, a niche market to tap on. The country can no longer afford to spend the budget on imported supplies, especially basic supplies that can be produced locally,” he noted.
Schlettwein said Government expects the private sector as the engine of growth to invest in the productive capacity of the economy and in the manufacture of value-added final products.
The realisation of the country’s growth potential does not end with Government support and the economy requires long-term productive investment and innovative and proactive entrepreneurs.
He said the private sector should be eager to take business risks and invest in projects with high returns.
Schlettwein reminded the private sector about the amended Regulation 28 and Regulation 29 that was introduced in 2014. These domestic asset requirement rules have been amended to require institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance and asset management industries to make available between 1.75 and 3.5 per cent of their total assets for investment in unlisted projects locally. All pension funds and insurance companies in Namibia are required to comply with Government requirements by investing a certain percentage of the market value of their investments in unlisted investment inside Namibia. Non-compliance with the specially drawn up regulations, particularly Regulations 28 and 29, will draw hefty fines of up to N.dollars 1 000 per day. Schlettwein boasted that this is a landmark development, which the private sector can seize and develop productive bankable projects that could attract these funds.
In going forward, the minister said that Government is working on developing the venture capital fund and credit guarantee facility as mechanisms to further support business start-ups and SME development. Access to finance and the provision of solutions to finance investment in the economy, and the construction industry in particular, is an important pillar to catalyse investment and private sector development opportunities.
Provision of development finance, through the Development Bank, the National Housing Enterprises, Agricultural Bank of Namibia and the SME Bank. The facilities at these financial arms of the State offer preferential rates and the Development Bank goes as far as accepting contract income as collateral against loan offerings, Schlettwein said.
“I commend the private sector for embracing this event as a platform for taking stock of the green technology and best practices. You have rightfully elected to share experience and explore partnerships in green investments and technology in the construction industry, with positive spin-offs for job creation and efficiency gains. Indeed, this is a sector which is labour-intensive and for which considerable investment has been sustained in recent years,” he added.