Import restriction present opportunity for Namibian SMEs

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The Cabinet decision to ban all public institutions from sourcing selected products and services from abroad has presented a good opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Namibia.

The decision to restrict the importation of products such as fruits, dairy products, bottled water, vegetables, cleaning detergents, toilet paper, meat products, and fish present a good opportunity for SMEs to participate in the local economy.

Public offices, ministries, and agencies are also barred from importing textiles, salt, animal feed, stationaries, food, beverages and confectionaries, furniture, metal fabrication, charcoal, leather products, fertilizers, paint, jewelry, cosmetics, cement, and toiletries.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein made the announcement on Thursday, May 23, 2019. According to Minister Schlettwein, the import ban extends to the sourcing of services such as security, laundry, cleaning, catering, maintenance, photocopy, printing, travel, graphic designing, audio, visual and event management services. 

Web hosting, marketing, branding, advertising, research and training, transport and logistics, tailoring and sewing, agriculture, waste management, landscaping and gardening, debushing and environment rehabilitation can now be sourced from local service providers.

In addition, works including plumbing, air conditioning installations and servicing, electrical, welding, boiler making, tiling, painting, carpentry and flooring can now be procured from Namibian companies.

In line with Cabinet directive, Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) has restated its call to producers of white maize, mahangu (millet), dry beans, fruits, vegetables and eggs that are not yet registered with the agency to do so before or on August 30, 2019.

AMTA’s Corporate Communications Officer Meke Namindo said the call is in line with the directive to all government offices, ministries and agencies to source, as a matter of priority, locally produced agricultural products – when purchasing products for their institutions.

The directive stipulates that food supplied to public institutions should be sourced from local producers and suppliers including products sold through the Fresh Produce Business Hubs and National Strategic Food Reserve.

“Cabinet has further directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to practically implement the Cabinet decision through AMTA and provide regular feedback to Cabinet on the implementation of the said decision, Namindo said.

Namindo also emphasised that – Resolution No. 10 of the 2nd Land Conference in October 2018 provides for a special arrangement for the procurement of local agricultural produce, especially those from the north of the cordon fence.

Therefore, all public entities are directed to include provisions in their tender specifications to ensure that entities bidding to supply food products to government institutions and agencies must source meat, fresh produce, cereal and flour from Namibian producers. 

Author: Staff Writer