Namibians must find innovative ways of overcoming the current economic challenges, Executive Chairman of the O&L Group, Sven Thieme, said this week.
Speaking during a motivational breakfast meeting attended by senior executives of State-owned enterprises, which was organised by The Namibian, he said “we must explore opportunities at this time,” making reference to the current tough economic environment.
He urged companies not to cut spending, but in fact increase their advertising and marketing budgets.
Without giving figures, he said the O&L Group had produced its best results in the first quarter of the year.
Thieme urged Namibians to motivate themselves on a daily basis and secure a better future for the next generation.
He said Namibians must be made to understand that corruption affects the provision of social services such as health and education because money meant for these services end up in the pockets of individuals.
He also bemoaned Government’s continued spend on the construction of multi-million dollar unproductive offices.
In terms of local manufacturing, Thieme said Namibia must start buying local products to create jobs.
Citing the example of the O&L Group, he said the group has started to source more products locally, beginning with clothing for their staff members, which is now being sourced from local company, Dinapama.
“Someone was telling me that we can’t buy milk from you anymore because it’s more expensive than the one imported from South Africa. Later that person came to me and asked if I could give a job to his son. In my mind I thought why don’t you find a job in South Africa, where you buy your milk,” Thieme said illustrating a point that local value addition creates jobs.
He challenged Namibian companies to keep on innovating and keep up with the changing times.
He cited Kodak, which at one time came up with a camera that would take a picture and develop it, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2012.
“Kodak thought they had arrived and never bothered about innovation. Where is Kodak today? Let’s not be part of something that will not exist tomorrow.”