The recent election of a new leadership in three of Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) northern regions is expected to bring to an end the fight for control of the organisation’s members in the region, a position which over the years has pitted the trade lobby group against Tomas Iindji of the northern branch.
This comes as the organization’s national secretariat has refused to acknowledge the NCCI northern branch under the chairmanship of Iindji, with NCCI president Sven Thieme in April labeling the branch “illegal”.
The elections which were held on the 21st and 22nd of August during the region’s AGMs and administered by the NCCI’s Chief Executive Officer, Charity Mwiya, NCCI Ongwediva Office Business Support Officer Ruth Shikongo-Heitha and NCCI Board member, Bisey Uirab saw northern business tycoon Ben Hauwanga (known more popularly as BH) elected to lead the NCCI Ongwediva branch, deputized by Amalia Schmidt of the SchmidtCo Group.
Other committee members are Shafa Kaulinge of Tiger Wheel and Tyre Ongwediva as Treasurer, Juliana Nepembe-Haimbodi of Vintage Property Developers and Real Estate as Secretary, Advocate Matomola of Extra Defense Protection Services, Leonard Asser of Zone Four Investment and Panduleni Uahengo of Epic Trading Enterprises .
“We congratulate the newly elected Executive Committee members at the three branches and are surely happy with the calibre and diversity of this new leadership. The NCCI Secretariat looks forward to working with them to lift the Chamber to greater heights as a unified premier voice of business Namibia. As part of the legally constituted branches of the NCCI, the Secretariat is at their disposal to assist them to more effectively serve the interests of members and to strengthen relations with stakeholders,” NCCI’s Chief Executive Officer, Charity Mwiya told the Windhoek Observer.
“I am confident that the new leadership will remain true to the original values that informed the founding fathers of NCCI that laid a solid foundation for a progressive and representative business voice in the country.”
Iindji, when contacted, congratulated those elected but said the existence of his branch will only be determined at NCCI AGM set to be held in September this year.
“If the AGMs have taken place within the confines of the constitution, then I would like to congratulate the new leadership. As for the northern branch, it has been in existence for over ten years and we are still waiting for the AGM, where the decision will be taken.”
Hauwanga said his executive will work towards serving the interest of the NCCI and the Ongwediva business community.
“NCCI is the leading private sector representative body in the country with important obligations to both its membership and the Nation. Therefore, this branch needs very strong leadership that can go against the odds to influence policy decisions and foster the interest of our business people”, he said.
The northern businessman said during his tenure, he will spearhead the facilitation of enhancing trade between Namibia and Angola to revive economic activities in and around the town of Oshikango.
“Oshikango needs to be resuscitated because two-way trade will lead to and open up other economic possibilities. Angolans will bring their products here and once they sell them, they use the income to shop in Namibia and overnight at local accommodation establishments. We cannot go on overlooking the importance of this huge neighbouring market for Namibia. The government needs to support local businesses and work closely with NCCI to facilitate opportunities in that market,” he said.
Hauwanga pointed out the existence of business opportunities for small businesses, particularly in the agricultural sector.
“Angola has an oversupply of agricultural produce such as tomatoes, avocados, onions and a variety of fruit, which present new sourcing opportunities for our small businesses, particularly women traders. These products are more competitively priced in comparison to those imported from elsewhere. We will have to engage our Ministry of Agriculture to address any legislative issues or bilateral impediments to enhancing trade activities between our two countries particularly in this sector,” he said.
Mario Upite of 6000 Investment was elected Chairperson of the Ondangwa branch, deputized by Victoria Joel of PJ Investments.
Additional members on the branch executive include Martha Negumbo of Eudafano Women Marula Manufacturing as Secretary and Philip Haikali of Super Auto Engine Repairs as the Treasurer. Other members of the leadership of the Ondangwa branch are Jonathan Amupolo of Kati Satellite, Tuyenikelao Shatona of Katiki Trading Enterprise and Sisco Shivolo of Sisco Catering Services.
At the AGM of the Oshakati branch, Otilie Kaapangelwa of OSK Debt Collectors and Turkie Tobias of Celtu Investments were elected Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson respectively.
Additional members elected to serve on the executive of that branch include Mulanduleni Kasita of Oshana Medical Laboratory as Treasurer, Patrick Chiyuka of Madmax Automotive & Equipment as Secretary, Tangeni Nghiwewelekwa of Water Engineering Africa, Christophine Shoopala of Shafa Real Estate and Abraham Shaanika of Sasha Trading & Earthworks.
Kaapangelwa who is the first female Chairperson for NCCI Oshakati Branch promised to foster strong partnerships with local stakeholders.