Prioritise local manufacturing

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Prioritise local manufacturing
Prioritise local manufacturing

Africa-Press – Namibia. National Unity Democratic Organisation presidential hopeful Vetaruhe Kandorozu is concerned about foreign dominance in Namibia’s manufacturing industry.

Kandorozu, who is vying for the top party portfolio, said the mushrooming of Chinese and South African manufacturing companies is taking jobs from local manufacturers.

According to the National Planning Commission, Namibia’s manufacturing sector is dominated by fish, meat- processing and other manufacturing, including basic non-ferrous metals, fabricated metals, diamond-processing, leather and related products, non-metallic mineral products, etc.

Last June, Cabinet resolved to prohibit the exportation of Namibia’s critical minerals, including unprocessed crushed lithium, graphite, cobalt, manganese and rare earth elements in raw form in a bid to create more local jobs and more local value.

Buttressing this point, in August 2023, during the official opening of the 2023 Mining Expo and Conference, late president Hage Geingob told government ministries to work faster on the implementation modalities to accelerate the realisation of beneficiation of Namibia’s minerals for a sustainable economic and social development.

The country is positioning itself to offer clean, affordable energy to the world economy through the production of green hydrogen.

The discovery of large oil reserves in the Orange basin and the development of the gas sector as transitional energy forms are set to drastically change the Namibian economic landscape as well as the socio-economic conditions of Namibian citizens.

Kandorozu told New Era that local manufacturers will be one of the key factors in addressing unemployment in the country.

“Our party will provide subsidies and incentives to people who want to venture into manufacturing in Namibia when it takes over the government,” said Kandorozu.

Chiefly, Kandorozu, who is also a former Okakarara constituency councillor, emphasised that plastic toys can be produced in the country.

“It is something that we must not entertain. Nudo will give subsidies and equipment to those local entrepreneurs. The government will provide 50% of subsidies whereas the other half will come from the business owner,” he said.

Kandorozu added that Chinese businesses can co-exist with locals, but the local manufacturers should be prioritised and equipped with all necessary equipment.

The former councillor is against Namibia’s export of its zinc from Scorpion Zinc Mine in southern Namibia to South Africa, while the possibility of adding value can be done in the country.

“We have markets in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where countries can buy our locally produced products,” he said.

The politician also questioned why Namibia should import batteries from China while Namibia has lithium.

“Our Nudo government will stop this trend. Why should we allow these products to go to China and buy from them?” asked Kandorozu.

He added that there is a need to change some policies in that regard.

“The problem is that we are at the receiving end. Imagine we have tailoring companies, but we are importing t-shirts and caps from South Africa while we can do it here in our own country,” he stated.

Kandorozu said Namibia has the capacity to produce cotton, and all clothing materials can be purchased in the country, which will be good for enhancing the local market economy.

“Those are interventions, and our government will be responsible for change in the current status quo,” he added.

Registration

On the registration of voters, which is currently underway in the country, the former councillor urged eligible voters to register.

“All citizens exercise their democratic rights through voting, and Namibia lacks civic education on nationhood and pride programmes. The aim of this programme is to educate people on the importance of voting and the love of their country,” stated Kandorozu.

So far, more than 300 000 voters have registered to vote. The voter registration process runs until 1 August 2024.

He further added that Namibian people do not demand to be served but wait to be served, and that is why many rely on the government.

“Swapo became arrogant and now is the time for people to vote out Swapo, and we must start advocating from our houses and tell everyone to register for the upcoming elections. There is only one month left,” he added.

Asked what he brings to the table as a Nudo presidential aspirant, Kandorozu told this publication that the Nudo ideology is not well known.

“We will do thorough research and engage with regional councils to collect complaints from all levels for Parliament. We will convert those complaints to motions in the chambers,” he said.

He added: “It will be a challenge, but we will be happy if the community sees the need, and the turnout is not an issue.”

Kandorozu also hinted that Nudo will rebrand after the elections.

He stated that unemployment remains high on the party’s agenda.

Kandorozu is of the opinion that vocational training centres and incubation centres will also be ideal for reducing unemployment in the country.

“We need to have these centres in all regions and create employment for our graduates,” he said.

Hunger in the Omaheke region is also a concern for Nudo, Kandorozu opined.

The current party president, Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, is not running to retain the party’s top position.

Kandorozu is competing for the top portfolio against former Namibia Football Association secretary general Barry Rukoro, former City of Windhoek mayor Joseph Uapingene, and Aminuis constituency councillor Peter Kazongominja.

Kazongominja is the current Nudo deputy president.

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