Government bans imports

24 May 2019 Author   NYASHA FRANCIS NYAUNGWA

Government has with immediate effect banned all public entities from procuring selected goods and services from foreign sources and companies in a move aimed at enabling local participation in the economy and enhancing domestic productive capacity.

Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, announced Thursday that all public entities will no longer be allowed to import bottled water, vegetables, fruits, poultry, cleaning detergents, toilet paper, dairy products, seafood, fish, meat and meat products.
Other products that have been banned are salt, furniture, textiles, arts and crafts, paint, animal feed, fertilizers, stationery, toiletries, sweets and confectionaries, food and beverages, leather goods, charcoal, metal fabrication, jewellery, cosmetics and cement. 
The minister said public entities will now only be allowed to procure the above goods from 100 percent Namibian owned SMEs and entities which are 51 percent or more equity owned by Namibian citizens in a move that is also aimed at preventing leakages from the local economy. These entities shall have a bank account at a Namibian banking institution. 
Leakages take different shapes and forms including transfer pricing, inflated invoices and shifting of profits from a host country which has a direct effect on the benefits available to the public in the host country. As part of the new directive, procurement contracts with joint ventures require each entity of the joint venture partnership to have at least 51 percent or more equity owned by Namibian citizens. The joint venture shall also keep a bank account at a Namibian banking institution. 
Services
The minister also banned the procurement of security, cleaning, laundry, maintenance, catering, photocopy, printing, travel, graphic designers, audio visual and event management services from foreign companies or services providers. 
Others services that will now only be supplied by locals include web hosting, marketing, advertising and branding, transport, freight and logistics, research, training, tailoring and sowing, agriculture, debushing, environmental rehabilitation, waste management, landscaping and gardening as well as photography. 
Works 
Public entities are also barred from procuring plumbing, air conditioning installations and servicing, electrical, welding, boiler-making, painting, tiling, carpentry and flooring works from foreign companies.  
Asked why the ruling party had not led by example when it awarded the contract to build its new N$730 million headquarters in Kautura, Schlettwein said no Namibian companies had submitted their bids during the tendering process. 
Namibians did not bid. It’s not SWAPO that gave the tender to the Chinese company. We submitted a tender and Namibians did not bid. In any case it’s not true that a Chinese company won the tender, but a joint venture company between a Chinese and a Namibian company.  He, however, did not say the name of the Namibian company. 
The procurement of products  under the new directive shall be from Namibian manufacturers, producers and suppliers only and the procurement of goods not manufactured or produced in Namibia is only allowed in the event that locally produced good are not available and all local suppliers have confirmed in writing that these goods are not available in Namibia. 
“Proof of non-availability must be submitted to the public entity to form part of the procurement documents,” the minister said. 
Public entities are discouraged from procuring the categories reserved for Namibians from elsewhere unless the capacity is insufficient to meet the demand.

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