Namibian import bill still high: NSA

27 Jun 2017 08:40am
By Isabel Bento
WINDHOEK, 27 JUN (NAMPA) – In spite of a financial crunch, Namibia imported over N.dollars 7 billion worth of commodities, including diamonds, over the past two months.
Of this amount, over N.dollars 1 billion was spent on 133 million kilogrammes of food products, said Namibia Statistics Agency Senior Statistician for Trade Statistics, Elijah Saushini in an interview with Nampa Monday.
He said the country also imported capital goods such as machinery mainly used in mines and construction of roads, railway, runways, harbours, bridges, amongst others.
“These are high value goods which inflate the import bill,” said Saushini.
Furthermore, despite being a diamond producer, local Export Processing Zone companies still import diamonds from Botswana.
This, the statistician said, is because they are only offered 10 per cent of the value of their diamonds locally.
In addition, Namibia is a net importer of energy, which is a primary input in supporting current economic activities.
“Even if the country is in a financial crisis, it is still bound to import such commodities because it cannot do without them.”
Saushini said the country still imports a large amount of horticulture products, despite having several Green Scheme projects.
He said this is because the domestic Green Schemes do not have sufficient capacity to saturate the domestic market.
“Furthermore, as per Namibia’s trade agreements under the Southern African Customs Union, Southern African Development Community, European Union, etc. the horticulture industry is not protected like poultry, therefore it is open for competition with foreign competitors,” he said.
Saushini said wholesalers, retailers and even hotels and lodges - both foreign and local - prefer to import these commodities from other countries.
He added that import figures would only go down if these establishments were compelled by law to stock local products, provided everything they need is available.