Access to land remains a constraint: Schlettwein

WINDHOEK: Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein says access to land and the high cost of land, including for business purposes, remains a constraint to the development and growth of businesses in Namibia.

Schlettwein said this in a statement he delivered at the launch of a report titled ‘Easing the Way for Investment in Namibia’ by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) here on Friday.

The statement was availed to Nampa on Monday.

“A related problem is the time and cost involved in registering property. This is one of the constraints identified in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Report’,” Schlettwein said.

He noted that in order to reduce the burden, especially on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and to attract targeted investments in manufacturing, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has embarked upon a deliberate measure to acquire land in strategic areas across the country for servicing and development into modular business units for SME operators and factories and industrial parks for manufacturing purposes.

Schlettwein said Namibia is a signatory to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) agreement of 2002 and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol and Free Trade Area, which regional integration processes provide access to a larger market for goods and services from Namibia.

He further added that Government continues to explore new markets while consolidating existing ones.

Schlettwein re-affirmed Government’s position and view about the important role of the private sector as the engine of growth and an important partner in national economic development.

“We equally recognise the need for effective public-private dialogue and partnerships, not only to create a conducive environment for business to operate and flourish in, but equally to ensure that the resultant growth translates into jobs and other positive outcomes as envisaged in our Growth at Home strategy and the fourth National Development Goal (NDP4) road-map,” he said.

Schlettwein said the Namibian Government will continue to explore and introduce reforms and invest in public infrastructure that are necessary to ensure and improve the ease of doing business in the country.