Tweya takes on saboteurs

05 November 2018 | Economics

Leandrea Louw

Minister of industrialisation, trade and SME development Tjekero Tweya has refuted claims that he travelled overseas with president Hage Geingob to ‘sign deals’.

“Our aim is to aggressively and seriously market Namibia as an investment destination via missions abroad,” he said at the official opening of the 12th annual Namport Business and Tourism Expo in Walvis Bay.

“Government however does not have the sole responsibility to attract investors. We invited investors to come to Namibia and meet businesses. It is with these businesses that investors will sign deals, not with the president or the minister.

“While we anticipate the arrival of these investors in future, Namibian people should change the narrative and refrain from saying or doing anything negative about or to our country that can potentially change the positive image we are presenting to foreign investors.”

He called out the institutions and individuals sabotaging efforts of government to attract foreign investors.

“If investors approach certain countries, they can register a company in six hours or within two days. In Namibia it takes up to 66 days. Who has that luxury or that patience? We also label foreign investors crooks and thieves. Of course they will walk away to where they are more appreciated.

“It is not the president or the minister who registers companies but the institution we have created. This institution needs to deliver. Leaders need to be held responsible and accountable for the entities they manage. We cannot just finger point; nothing will happen. We need to be hands on with the services we are in charge of. We cannot leave them to fend on their own.”

Tweya said he is in Walvis Bay to make sure the first car assembled by the newly established Peugeot plant leaves the factory by the end of 2018.

“This is a project that we as government want to see become a success.

“Last Sunday we expected the arrival of the first consignment of the machinery and technology to assemble the vehicles. However, customs wanted to impose a levy on this consignment, but we said no. The benefit to the country is more than the pennies you wish to milk through these levies. This issue we dealt with and the consignment arrived in the Walvis Bay harbour this week. Customs yet again told us they cannot release the consignment. According to a custom official the warehouse where the consignment is headed to is incomplete and will not be safe for the equipment.

“If Peugeot said they felt their equipment will not be safe, I personally would have asked what to do to make it more secure. For a custom official to hold the consignment hostage is unacceptable.

“When we invite investors to Namibia, systems and individuals become our worst enemy. The consignment was only released after I intervened. There is nothing illegal; it’s just the behaviour. That is how Namibians and officials are sabotaging your government. Your days are numbered. Civil servants who have a different agenda, your days are numbered, especially those who deal with the ministry of industrialisation. We must have the guts to remove those hampering development in towns and regions, because it is in the best interest of our country.”

Tweya said government intends to have an industry operational in every region, to fast track industrialisation.

“We are behind time to meet Vision 2030. Each region has a different competitive advantage and we need to harness that competitive advantage. This is not only going to be an advantage for local consumption, but for export purposes as well. We are inviting investors to set up their factories in Namibia, because we need the jobs created by these factories for our people. If we can do this, there is no reason to not have a 100% employment rate.

“We just don’t want to talk about job creation. Government is restless in its quest to create jobs and turn around the economic downturn. Many times, instead of fixing problems, we run to the media, to appear as if we are angels.

“Farm 37 must become a reality. If the structures are the stumbling blocks, let us identify and expose them. If Nampab is the problem, deal with them. Let us know if the entity is not relevant anymore, so that we can remove it.”

The minister furthermore said the expo should not be about selling products and services, but strive for business development as well by attracting foreign investment for the various SMEs.

The expo, which accommodated 80 exhibitors showcasing various products and services, opened its doors on Wednesday and concluded yesterday afternoon.

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