20 Aug 2015 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 20 AUG (NAMPA) Infant Industry Protection (IIP) currently being carried out in Namibia is imperfect and consumers have not been involved in the decision making process, the Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT) says.
IIP is flawed. Its impact besides benefits to the manufacturer is little understood because consumers have not been involved in the decision making process all along.
It is worth mentioning that Namibia does not have a comprehensive consumer protection law, which makes Government look biased and in favour of business interest, said NCT Executive Director Michael Gaweseb in a media statement issued on Tuesday.
The NCT is a not for profit non-governmental organisation which educates consumers about their rights.
IIP protects and nurtures local industries through methods such as the imposition of an import duty levy on imported goods; a quantitative restriction on imports; granting of targeted and performance-based incentivized subsidies to stimulate local production; and ensuring market supply.
Gawesebs comment follows Namibia Dairies announcement last Thursday that Namibias entire dairy industry is on the verge of collapse and requires urgent intervention in order to survive. It warned that the industry is not able to compete with cheap imports flooding the Namibian market.
He said IIP granted to the milk industry will not result in long-term sustainability of the local dairy producer, Namibia Diaries, which is a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group.
Gaweseb said the IIP Policy implemented in 2014 lacks compassion for the poor as every citizen, rich or poor, pay value added tax (VAT).
IIP further exacerbates income inequalities among Namibians, thus it is currently outdated considering the commendable poverty eradication drive and that no Namibian should be left behind, according to him.
He accused the industry of being favoured, saying the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Small and Medium Enterprise Development funds associations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Namibia Manufacturers Association, amongst others, but is undecided on supporting consumer protection.
Gaweseb emphasised that there is need for national dialogue on these restrictions.
The NCT has also since 2012 warned consumers about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Top Score maize meal.
The maize industry allegedly sneaked in GMO up to nearly 90 per cent of total supply.
The high prices contributed by IIP disconnect consumers from access to good nutrition and access to housing. The industry receives financial and import limiting protection from Government, but these may not always result in increased food security, he added.