Meet the Tenderers, Entrepreneurs in the Market Vulila Wellness Centre [interview]

Convinced that herbal medicine and counselling are effective alternative treatment methods, Fredricka Ndeshi Immanuel, established Vulila Wellness Centre that offers herbal treatment.

How long has Vulila Wellness Centre been in existence and how big is the company’s workforce? If possible please tell us about the gender composition in your workforce.

Vulila Wellness Centre is in business since October 2013 and employs three Namibians, two of them female.

Tell us about the shareholding or ownership of the business?

I am the sole owner of this business.

Tell us about your business?

Vulila Wellness Centre specialises in herbal and therapy treatment for illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, back problems and complications occurring after a medical operation. We also provide counselling to these patients.

As a two-year-old company, what challenges are you experiencing when applying for good standing certificates at Inland Revenue, Social Security, Trade and Industry, etc?

I do not experience any problems in obtaining these documents and I want to praise the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the speedy and efficient services I experience with them.

What is your view regarding the frequent reporting about ‘tenderpreneurship’ and the association of the term with corruption in the tender process and what can be done to address it?

Corruption in any environment is a very bad practice. It makes only provision for friends and family when tenders are awarded. Even if you have the capability, skills and abilities as well as providing a very scarce service in Namibia you can still be denied the opportunity to grow because of this evil. At times tenderers are awarded tenders on the basis of nepotism and favouritism, and they outsource or resell the tender to someone else. One cannot fight corruption alone, therefore government should seriously review and amend the whole tender and procurement process and streamline it with the objectives of Vision 2030 in order to stimulate growth and sustainability in Namibia.

Some Namibian companies are increasingly entering into joint ventures with foreign companies. How, in your view, can Namibians benefit from these joint ventures in terms of employment opportunities and sharing of wealth?

Namibians mainly formed these joint ventures with foreign companies due to a lack of finance and skills and expertise. Government should, however, come up with a legal draft to protect the Namibian partner in terms of shareholding percentage, employment creation and skills transfer. Both parties should sign and be obliged to strictly adhere to such a legally binding document before and when forming such joint ventures. Namibians should also strive to get hands on experience while performing unskilled duties on these projects.

What programmes are in place in terms of skills development and capacity building of employees at your company?

I went for training in a new technology called “Far Infrared Ray Device” and am now busy with transferring the knowledge gained to my employees.

What is your company’s view on giving back to the community?

Due to our current financial status we do not give back in terms of monetary value at this stage, but as part of our social corporate responsibility we provide herbal treatments and body scans free of charge to vulnerable groups and cancer sufferers.

Do your employees belong to a pension fund and medical aid scheme, and if not, in what way are they assisted in this regard?

All employees are registered with the Social Security Commission and furthermore receive a monthly allowance to contribute towards a pension fund. We will, however, at a later stage, and as the company grows register with a medical aid provider.

Any innovative ideas and own initiatives that you might have tested and want to share with the readers?

Yes, I have with time experienced that when the disease is in an aanced stage, cancer patients are sometimes sent home to spend their last days with their families. I see this challenge as an opportunity and have started giving these people herbal treatment, with steam and counselling to improve their medical conditions. Some of them recover very well after this treatment. This idea is also a first for Namibia.

Anything else you want to mention?

Yes, as a qualified Psychologist, who studied in the United Kingdom, I am struggling to be registered with the relevant Namibian Registration Board. Although I worked with various institutions in Namibia after independence, I still cannot practice my profession. Medical boards should maybe in future consider all these circumstances first before deciding on recognition for foreign health and social experts. Medical aid providers should furthermore allow their members to make use of facilities such as ours and also recognise us as medicalsocial service providers in order to also enjoy “a piece of the cake”. In some cases, our services might be the cheaper option to make use of.

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Source : New Era