27 Jan 2017 10:20am
By Isabel Bento
OSHAKATI, 27 JAN (NAMPA) - Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) will only be successful if foreign companies involve local businesses, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)s Northern Branch Chairperson, Tomas Iindji has said.
We have witnessed foreign businesses establishing themselves all over the country on land which has been allocated to them by local authorities and overlooking local businesses, thus disempowering the indigenous businesses, Iindji said in an interview with Nampa on Wednesday regarding the PPP Bill which is currently under discussion in the various regions.
The Bill, tabled in the National Assembly last November and adopted by the National Council (NC) on 01 December 2016, aims to explore avenues to build mutually beneficial partnerships for sustainable growth. It also seeks to regulate how private entities will fund public infrastructure and services.
It is being discussed by a committee from the NC, members of local and regional councils and local business owners in order to create frameworks, oversight and governance mechanisms for PPP projects as well as ensure fairness and transparency.
Iindji said local businesses should be allowed to participate in the setting up of the foundations of the PPP Bill.
This will only happen if government ensures that any private business that wishes to invest in any region or sector be matched up with local entrepreneurs, who should then automatically have access to the land on which the project is to be erected.
Currently, the Bill states that the committee to decide on PPPs must consist of at least five, but not more than 10, members including a member from the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Attorney-General, National Planning Commission and other persons appointed by the Minister of Finance.
Iindji said it would be best if the NCCI, regional and local government, Office of the Ombudsman, the ministries of Industrialisation, Trade and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development; and Home Affairs are represented on the committee.
These are the central representatives of the citizens rights and it definitely makes sense to have these organisations as part of the committee, should the Consumer Protection Act come into force, he said.
Iindji also said the private sector is likely to have more expertise and after a short time might, have more advantage in the project.
It is therefore important to ensure that there are clear and detailed reporting requirements for the private operator to reduce this potential imbalance, he noted.