MPs complain foreign nationals rule Namibia’s economy

WINDHOEK: Many Members of Parliament (MP) have complained that certain positions within some financial institutions, particularly banks, are occupied by non-Namibians and needs to be addressed with urgency.

Their complaint comes after the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Erkki Nghimtina tabled a motion in the National Assembly (NA) last Thursday for 14 members of the Employment Equity Commission (EEC) representing the State, employers, women and previously disadvantaged persons to be appointed.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Tjekero Tweya said he personally knows of people who have been working in the bank for more than 25 years but are nowhere in management positions there.

“Certain departments in these institutions are only occupied by non-Namibians. I am not so much worried about the ownership issue but the management, the decision making is of concern,” Tweya said.

There is a need, he said, for decisions taken in the country to be in the interest of Namibians and the country’s economic development.

The minister complained that bankcards are being printed across the border in South Africa, whilst institutions such as the Development Bank of Namibia and the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) are there.

Such projects, he added, are being outsourced and are delaying the economic growth of the country.

“But we do have Namibians, such as the EEC, with a very nice combination, representing all people in the country. However these Namibians do not want to bite,” the minister said.

Tweya said the country must reach a stage where Namibians must make things happen for themselves.

In as much as the EEC is well represented, if they do not perform, people should not be kept in positions because Parliament has approved their appointment for three years, yet they do not make any difference especially in the financial sector to grow the economy.

“If these commissioners do not perform, replace them with Namibians that want to work. We want results, we want to grow the economy,” he said.

Joining in on the discussion, the Deputy Minister of Finance Natangwe Ithete said that for him, colleagues at the EEC are doing their best but the EEC Act of 1998 is hampering efforts.

“When companies do not comply, the same Act gives power to the EEC to fine those companies. In the end, these companies do not feel threatened by this fine because when they do not comply, they are asked to pay and they pay,” Ithete informed the MPs.

Thus he proposed that the Act be amended in such a way that either a Chief Executive Officer of a certain company or Director be sent to jail if they do not comply with the laws of the country.

DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani agreed, saying it is a worrisome trend where the compositions of institutions’, such as Agra, management do not reflect the previously disadvantaged Namibians by representation, regardless of the money invested by these people.

“Their management does not reflect the diversity that Namibia as a country finds itself in. The EEC should really do its job to make sure that we broaden representation,” he said.

On his part, All People’s Party (APP) president Ignatius Shixwameni called on the Employment Equity Commissioner, Vilbard Usiku through the minister of labour to crack his whip, adding that reports of the EEC go in and out of Parliament, yet many Namibians remain disadvantaged.

“We are supposed to be masters of our own destiny but look at what is happening in the economic sector: it is dominated by non- Namibians in top positions and that situation should end,” he charged.

Shixwameni said the EEC members should now go out there and make sure that Namibians occupy the highest positions and become managers in this African country.

“This is not Europe. So we must make sure that Africans and Namibia’s economy is owned by Namibians and not by foreigners,” Shixwameni stressed.