Tweya lashes out against policies

Policies holding development hostage

26 February 2020 | Government

Tjekro Tweya; Minister; "We kill you even before you start reaping some benefits."

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The minister of trade, SME development and industrialisation Tjekro Tweya lashed out against officials who he accuses of holding policies hostage, which prevent foreign investment that can bring about development.

Tweya told guests attending the inauguration of a N$93 million salt production plant at Walvis Bay Salt Holdings, that the prevailing situation is very discouraging.

“Even after you do your business and receive any return on your money, we want to tax you to death. We kill you even before you start reaping some benefits. What type of policies are these?”

The minster said that backward policies could see investors taking their money elsewhere, where they will be given a chance to grow their business.

“We are not moving together as we claim publicly and through the media. We talk Harambee and nice things in the media, but our actions are showing the opposite. Can we for a change support the private sector and give them room to do business by allowing different incentives for businesses? They have already made a difference by creating employment.”

Tweya said that Namibia has 10 years left to become an industrialised nation as envisaged by Vision 2030.

“We must therefore be bold enough to remove the obstacles in the system that are impeding us to move faster.”

He also called for the inclusion of even small manufacturers to allow them to contribute in whatever way possible.

“This will ultimately bring benefits for all Namibians. It requires a collective effort in conjunction with trade and SME enterprise to expedite any industrialisation development and extract maximum returns in favour of the GDP.”

‘Moral obligation’

Tweya added that he has the moral obligation to call those out in charge of the finances of the country to start investing in this country.

“I know I might be stepping on toes, but I am not here for a popularity contest. The time has come to call a spade, a spade. Either we start to develop this country by creating unique investment incentives to make it the best for all, or we must declare ourselves irrelevant. As much as I welcome and congratulate non-Namibians risking investing their money in Namibia to build our economy, Namibians also have a moral obligation to seize this opportunities to build our country.”

The minister said that the Export Processing Zone and the Special Economic Zones are two of the policies to him are being held hostage by some officials.

He said it was time that Namibians re-align their thinking, and do the right thing.

“The Export processing Zone (EPZ) was created to encourage manufacturing in the country for export purposes and to earn foreign currency. That particular act has not given us what we expected because it made us believe that we consume what we don’t produce and we produce what we don’t consume. This needs to change through industrialisation.”

Tweya said becoming an industrialised nation means that Namibia must be able to produce what it needs and send the surplus send out.

“We need to fast track the EPZ and Special Economic Zones for implementation to unlock the economic potential that we have. This can only be done by those in position and that are able to do so. When we undermine each other and we want to be champions of the media with our good English it is not helpful. People don’t eat good English.”

Industrial activity

He explained that the Special Economic Zones 6 policy was approved by cabinet in 2018, and said the purpose of this policy is to encourage and boost industrialising and manufacturing.

“We want to establish in all 14 region an industrial activity so that Vision 2030 is felt across Namibia and not just in some towns. Hence that would make provision for incentives. If we want Tsumkwe to be part of Namibia, an investor who takes a risk to set up a factory there, must be provided with different incentives to operate so that area is not left out, compared to an area such as Windhoek, where a number of facilities are available.”

According to the minister, this particular policy is held hostage by others.

“We are not moving together. It cannot be put in operation. We need to change our attitude. As government it is our responsibility to remove obstacles to allow you as private sector to constructively do your part.

“Do not get tired. Organise yourself in the existing bodies such as the Namibia Manufacturing Association and the Chamber of Commerce, so that we can together identify these impediments and move together to create hope for our youth.”

The minister also acknowledged that the youth is angry about the unemployment rates in the country.

“It is not enough to tell them that we hear them but there is nothing we can do about it. We are sitting on a time bomb of youth unemployment. When that bomb explodes it will not be the youth that are unemployed – it will finish all of us.”

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