Economic landscape still skewed

Economic landscape still skewed

THE Indigenous Business Forum (IBF), which seeks to promote previously disadvantaged Namibians, was officially launched at the weekend at a gala event attended by the country’s established and upcoming black businesspeople.

The IBF’s main aim is to create quality life for all Namibians through economic empowerment through dialogue between the public and private sectors in supporting local businesses. IBF President and prominent businessman John Akapandi Endjala said it was unfortunate that 15 years after Independence, Namibia still had no BEE policy in place like South Africa, and that previously disadvantaged Namibians were not ’empowered’ but were still fighting to get into the mainstream of the economy.He said the IBF was a vehicle aimed at helping redress the imbalances of the past and restoring confidence in the abilities of indigenous businesspeople.The forum, he added, would engage the public and private sectors in policy formulation to ensure the meaningful participation of indigenous people in the economy.Endjala said the forum would become a source of valuable information for new entrepreneurs by bringing all relevant partners together.He noted with dismay that financial institutions were still biased and discriminatory, saying that many indigenous entrepreneurs were still struggling to obtain credit lines to finance their projects – a situation that he said needed urgent attention.”We believe that smart partnership is necessary if we are to empower the potential entrepreneurs from the previously dispossessed majority.We, therefore, need to work together at all levels to achieve broad-based black economic empowerment.It means that IBF, entrepreneurs, workers and the Government need to work together, pooling together resources such as knowledge, finance as well as human skills to promote business success and national development,” said Endjala.Officially launching the IBF, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the ownership structures of the significant means of production had largely remained unchanged since Independence.In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana, Pohamba reiterated his earlier calls for value-addition to Namibian products, and urged indigenous businesspeople to strive for the enlargement of the economic mainstream.”With the exception of a few empowerment deals, the ownership of our financial institutions, mining companies, retail chains, tourism ventures, accommodation establishments and professional service providers such as auditing and engineering firms remains virtually the same.”This means that formerly disadvantaged citizens of our country need to make greater inroads into the private sector through innovation, hard work and vision, so that they can become owners of the means of production,” said Pohamba.The President congratulated the IBF and said the forum should not work in isolation but involve other stakeholders in the economic sector.Also speaking at the launch, Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko praised the formation of such a forum, saying: “The IBF is a good idea and founders should see to it that it is not allowed to die in its infancy.”He called on the forum to help uplift the SME sector, saying this was a vital component in the country’s industrialisation.Businessmen from various sectors addressed the gathering on the challenges facing previously disadvantaged Namibians in these lines of trade and what issues the IBF should address.The speakers included lawyer Sisa Namandje, architect Marley Tjitjo and retailer Brasso Auchumeb.Guests at the launch included Speaker of Parliament Theo-Ben Gurirab; the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Nickey Iyambo; the Minister of Home Affairs, Rosalia Ngidhinwa and Andimba Toivo yaToivo.IBF President and prominent businessman John Akapandi Endjala said it was unfortunate that 15 years after Independence, Namibia still had no BEE policy in place like South Africa, and that previously disadvantaged Namibians were not ’empowered’ but were still fighting to get into the mainstream of the economy.He said the IBF was a vehicle aimed at helping redress the imbalances of the past and restoring confidence in the abilities of indigenous businesspeople.The forum, he added, would engage the public and private sectors in policy formulation to ensure the meaningful participation of indigenous people in the economy.Endjala said the forum would become a source of valuable information for new entrepreneurs by bringing all relevant partners together.He noted with dismay that financial institutions were still biased and discriminatory, saying that many indigenous entrepreneurs were still struggling to obtain credit lines to finance their projects – a situation that he said needed urgent attention.”We believe that smart partnership is necessary if we are to empower the potential entrepreneurs from the previously dispossessed majority.We, therefore, need to work together at all levels to achieve broad-based black economic empowerment.It means that IBF, entrepreneurs, workers and the Government need to work together, pooling together resources such as knowledge, finance as well as human skills to promote business success and national development,” said Endjala.Officially launching the IBF, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the ownership structures of the significant means of production had largely remained unchanged since Independence.In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana, Pohamba reiterated his earlier calls for value-addition to Namibian products, and urged indigenous businesspeople to strive for the enlargement of the economic mainstream.”With the exception of a few empowerment deals, the ownership of our financial institutions, mining companies, retail chains, tourism ventures, accommodation establishments and professional service providers such as auditing and engineering firms remains virtually the same.”This means that formerly disadvantaged citizens of our country need to make greater inroads into the private sector through innovation, hard work and vision, so that they can become owners of the means of production,” said Pohamba.The President congratulated the IBF and said the forum should not work in isolation but involve other stakeholders in the economic sector.Also speaking at the launch, Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko praised the formation of such a forum, saying: “The IBF is a good idea and founders should see to it that it is not allowed to die in its infancy.”He called on the forum to help uplift the SME sector, saying this was a vital component in the country’s industrialisation.Businessmen from various sectors addressed the gathering on the challenges facing previously disadvantaged Namibians in these lines of trade and what issues the IBF should address.The speakers included lawyer Sisa Namandje, architect Marley Tjitjo and retailer Brasso Auchumeb.Guests at the launch included Speaker of Parliament Theo-Ben Gurirab; the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Nickey Iyambo; the Minister of Home Affairs, Rosalia Ngidhinwa and Andimba Toivo yaToivo.

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