As first reported by the Windhoek Observer in July Tarah Shaanika’s 15-year-old love affair with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) came to an end this week.
NCCI president, Sven Thieme, announced on Wednesday that Shaanika had left the business chamber to venture into private business.
“I have been honoured to serve for a long time,” Shaanika told reporters.
Shaanika kept matters close to his chest, but said he is available to assist the NCCI when his expertise is needed.
“I have a lot of institutional memory.”
“I am now unemployed,” he joked when asked what he is going to do after leaving the chamber.
Shaanika served under six of the 10 presidents that the NCCI has had since its inception.
Pouring out his heart on some of the matters affecting business and investment, Shaanika said he believes that the chamber and the Government can work more closely together than what is the case at the moment.
He also said that he regrets that Namibia is not as competitive as some of its peers because of factors like the high cost of land, availability of land, high cost of water and electricity and other utility costs. “Incentives for investors are not just tax incentives. Investors look at a lot of things before they decide to invest,” he said.
“A manufacturer may not want to buy land, but lease it. But in Windhoek, for example, land is not available or expensive.”
Namibia has fallen by six places on the Global Competitiveness rankings for 2017-18, down to 90th from 84th in 2016-17. Namibia’s score was also down – 3,99 from 4,02 last year.
Namibia ranks highly for its institutions (44th), infrastructure (67th), and financial market development (50th), and labour market efficiency (33rd), but is rated poorly for the quality of its higher education (111th), health and primary education (110th), business sophistication (87th), technological readiness (89th), macroeconomic environment (107th), and market size (111th).
Shaanika said Namibia must focus on vocational training because the country lacks skills in many areas.
With Shaanika’s departure, NCCI Manager for Member Services, Charity Mwiya, has been appointed acting CEO until next year, when the process to replace Shaanika will commence.
Thieme said Mwiya, who has been employed at the NCCI for the past 13 years, will be allowed to apply for the position. The NCCI was established 27 years ago and has had 10 presidents and four CEOs since inception.