29 Nov 2013 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 29 NOV (NAMPA) - The Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, retired Major-General Charles Namoloh launched two reports titled Attracting and Retaining Business in Namibia and the Impact of Public-Private Dialogues (PPDs) in Namibia on Thursday.
Launching the reports in the capital, he explained that a study was conducted by the Local Economic Development Agency (LEDA) which falls under the Ministry of Regional and Local Government to investigate the current strategies employed by various regional councils and local authorities in Namibia to attract, retain and expand business.
According to Namoloh, following the enactment of the Decentralisation Enabling Act 33 of 2000, every local and regional council in the country is required to formulate and implement a Local Economic Development (LED) strategy.
He however said many local authorities are currently struggling to reduce basic service delivery backlogs and meet their financial obligations.
Namoloh noted that the purpose of the study was to stimulate dialogue amongst the different stakeholders in the Namibian LED fraternity with regards to best practice instruments for business retention, expansion and attraction, and to find innovative ways of financing them.
The report provides input for policy debates surrounding financial incentives for the implementation of LED strategies, for the development of capacity building programmes and the invention of cost-effective business retention, expansion and attraction instruments.
Many local councils already benefited from an LED strategy as well as dedicated, qualified personnel. Village councils are an exception, he stated.
He said 65 per cent of business respondents rated local government capacity as good, especially when it comes to the basic provision of services.
The minister however said staffing levels in LED offices remain low and there is limited access to professional business services. There is also a persistent lack of communication between regional and local councils, between local councils and the wider business community, as well as amongst business actors themselves.
Despite the lack of personnel and financial constraints, regional and local councils deploy a range of business retention, expansion and attraction strategies, Namoloh indicated.
The second study regarding PPDs on sub-national level served as an important dialogue platform to set the framework for participatory policy-making.
Also on Thursday Namoloh launched the LEDA Pathfinder website.
The LEDA website not only presents and describes LED services in detail, but also features sections like publications and LED in Neighbouring Countries in order for it to publish a wide range of content relevant to the main clients, which are local authorities and regional councils, he said.