MIT amplifies efforts to enact four economic blueprints

The Ministry of Industrialization and Trade (MIT) last week sourced key inputs on four key policy and legislative framework documents, inclusive of the draft Special Economic Zone Bill (SEZ), National Informal Economy, Startups, and Entrepreneurship Development Policy (NIESED), Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Regulations, and National Cooling Strategy.

These laws are key in shaping the economic dimension of Namibia, which can ultimately result in significant growth and development.

Speaking about the legislation, Industrialization and Trade Minister Lucia Iipumbu said that Special Economic Zones have over the years proven to be a catalyst for economic transformation around the globe. This is done by creating specific areas with favorable business conditions and incentives advanced by the government in order to boost and attract both domestic and foreign investments, foster innovation, and generate employment opportunities.

“The Ministry has therefore embarked on a journey to tailor this concept to our unique needs and aspirations as a country as we strive to have it as a law to replace the Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) regime, which has thus far brought about various challenges. The technical officials will delve into more details on the SEZ Bill during the presentation. It is essential to recognize the potential benefits and challenges it may present.

“The establishment of Special Economic Zones can significantly boost industrialization, enhance export capabilities, and stimulate economic growth, especially as we are readying ourselves to fully participate in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” said Iipumbu.

She went on to highlight that, at the same time, the government must address concerns related to environmental sustainability, labor rights, and the equitable distribution of economic benefits across our country.

“We must consider all the social implications of SEZs, ensuring that the economic benefits are shared equitably among all segments of society. Moreover, the SEZ Bill should be crafted with a forward-looking approach, incorporating measures to promote innovation, research and development, and the integration of new technologies. By doing so, we can position ourselves as a hub for cutting-edge industries, attracting both domestic and foreign investments that will fuel our economic progress.”

She went on to say that it was important to chart a path that not only recognizes the importance of the informal economy but also seeks to empower and uplift those who operate within its realms, adding that one of MIT’s key objectives is to provide a conducive environment for startups and entrepreneurs to thrive.

We understand that they are the engines of innovation, driving economic growth and job creation. This policy therefore aims to create a supportive ecosystem that encourages the birth and growth of new enterprises, ensuring that they have the necessary resources, mentorship, and infrastructure to thrive.

“We are committed to fostering an inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurial culture. This policy will address the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, young startups, and those from marginalized communities. By promoting diversity and inclusivity, we aim to unlock the untapped potential within our society and build a more resilient and dynamic economy. In order to achieve these goals, the government, through the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, is implementing a series of initiatives, including but not limited to financial support. This is done through our Equipment Aid Scheme and Industrial Upgrading Modernization Programme, entrepreneurial training through robust transformational change mentorships to SMEs, as well as the provision of a comprehensive range of business advisory services under our Empretec program, start-up Namibia Centre, and Gemstone Cutting and Polishing Centre in Karibib, to mention but a few.

“These series of interventions are striving to provide entrepreneurial support and jump-start the operations of various business initiatives at all levels. This will aid them to scale and grow while further improving their business practices. The results from these support mechanisms have seen various businesses graduating to the next level in their set-ups while others diversified their portfolios with a special focus on value addition,” explained Iipumbu.

Iipumbu also noted that the Ministry is at an advanced point in finalizing and enacting the Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Bill, which was comprehensively consulted.

Namibia, with its abundant resources and untapped potential, stands at the threshold of a new era of growth and development. Our government is fully aware that attracting both domestic and foreign investments is key to unlocking this potential and driving sustainable economic progress.

“These regulations are designed to create an environment that encourages and supports investment, streamlining processes to make it easier for businesses to operate in Namibia while ensuring that there are checks and balances in terms of investment portfolios and compliance. We understand that a transparent, predictable, and investor-friendly regulatory framework is essential for attracting the capital necessary for infrastructure development, job creation, and technological advancements.”

Lastly, the Minister said the importance of cooling technologies cannot be overstated, especially in the face of rising global temperatures and the increasing frequency of extreme changes in weather patterns.

“Our National Cooling Strategy is therefore designed to not only meet the growing demand for cooling but to do so in a manner that aligns with our country’s commitments to environmental sustainability and climate resilience. The cooling sector has the potential to be a driving force for innovation, job creation, and economic growth. We must explore and promote technologies that prioritize energy conservation, reducing both costs and environmental impacts. This includes advancements in building design, the promotion of smart cooling systems, and the integration of renewable energy sources such as green hydrogen into cooling infrastructure. Simultaneously, we must be cognizant of the environmental impact of various cooling methods and technologies, striving to minimize our carbon footprint, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the ozone.”

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