Neeef Bill being ‘polished’: PM

23 Sep 2019 12:50pm
WINDHOEK, 23 SEP (NAMPA) – The finalising of the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (Neeef) Bill is in sight and should be tabled in the National Assembly before 31 March 2020, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said.
The Bill, according to the Premier, is currently before a committee that is doing the final touches before it is submitted to legal drafters before its tabling in the National Assembly.
“There was only one stumbling block as far as I am concerned and that is the requirement that foreign investors should have a minimum of 25 per cent local content. Although we had already adjusted that to say that is only one of the several requirements and that compliance was only going to be determined on the basis of aggregate points awarded. It is not to say once you don’t meet this specific requirement [25 per cent], [then] you are disqualified, which was the case earlier,” the Premier said.
She attributed the delay of the Bill’s tabling to the time needed to accommodate conflicting views and allow for extensive consultations with interested parties.
“We actually said that we are no longer putting a figure there. 25 per cent is no longer going to be there. So, with that, consensus has been reached. We are now proceeding to finalise the technical works,” she said.
According to the PM, a technical committee is hard at work polishing the document.
“We are still determined to have the Bill submitted at least to the legal drafters and at least to parliament in the current financial year,” she said.
Some opposition parties, including the Popular Democratic Movement, Rally for Democracy and Progress and Swanu have been on record to say Neeef had collapsed, and what is left was a mockery of the original plan.
Swanu has gone as far as accusing the government of bowing down to external forces when it removed the 25 per cent equity clause in the Bill.
'They are just listening to dissenting voices that have colonised us, that have exploited us and want to keep themselves in the status quo. Inequality cannot be tackled by policies. Inequality is a structural matter that can only be tackled by a complete overhaul and restructuring of the economic relationships,' Swanu's former leader, Usutuaije Maamberua was quoted as saying.
The clause would have obliged foreign investors to sell a 25 per cent stake of their businesses to previously disadvantaged Namibians.
In essence, Neeef seeks to ensure that Namibia’s resources are shared equitably and in a sustainable fashion.
(NAMPA)
MEM/HP