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Namibia: Trade and Industry Working On Accelerating ManufacturingMonday, October 27, 2014 > 09:44:24
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is in the process of developing the first set of sector growth strategies as part of an industrial policy implementation strategy to accelerate manufacturing activities and value addition, and develop local value chains within the country as well as beyond Namibia's borders.
"We are pursuing industrial cooperation at bilateral and regional level through the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Just a few days ago I had the privilege to launch the negotiations towards a Retail Charter for Namibia that would, amongst others, provide for local sourcing and supplier development, aimed at enhancing access for local manufacturers to retail shelf space. In addition, we are also reviewing the SME policy, which is largely aimed at assisting SMEs with entering formal business and the manufacturing sector in particular, to enhance linkages and coordination," said Trade and Industry Minister, Calle Schlettwein.
Speaking at the Namibian Manufacturing Association (MNA) Manufacturer of the Year gala event on October 23, Schlettwein said that in the current financial year a total of 1006 companies, mostly SMEs, have benefited through the ministry's Business Support Service Programmes
"In our quest to industrialize, Namibia can expect tough competition from a number of sources. In order to remain competitive and relevant, Namibia will have to frequently review and analyze her incentive regime that includes tax and non-tax incentives. I'm glad to inform you that the manufacturing incentives are being reviewed at the moment. The main aim of the incentive regime is to develop our industrial competencies and capacities with the ultimate view to explore the frontiers of our production possibilities. In this, regard, government will deliberately strive to implement measures that will make it easier for businesses to set up and operate in Namibia," said Schlettwein.
The minister continued that the manufacturing sector plays a strategic role in economic development and is the component of industry that presents significant opportunities for sustained growth.
Such growth, he said, must further translate into sustainable employment and equalized wealth distribution.
"To illustrate, in NDP4, the manufacturing sector is identified as a priority which in the year 2012 generated exports to the value of N$21 billion, the equivalent of 53 percent of total exports of goods that year. Of the N$21 billion, 49 percent consisted of food products and beverages, 13 per cent of refined zinc and blister copper, and the remainder - other manufactured goods. The constant growth in the sector (1.2 percent in both 2011 and 2012) can mainly be attributed to the sub-sector 'other food products and beverages' that recorded an increase of 6.5 percent in real value added, following a decline of 5.4 percent a year earlier. This sub-sector alone contributed 40.4 percent of the total manufacturing in 2012 (NSA, National Account 2012)," said Schlettwein.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency's Labour Force Survey 2013, there are 32 769 employed workers in the manufacturing sector compared to 28 409 employed in 2012 and related industries which effectively comprises 4.8 percent of the total labour force. This figure shows that the sector is still relatively small in employment terms but expanding (despite the trend towards automation in manufacturing).