New Investment Act to Bring Wholesale Changes

THE new Investment Act anticipated to come into force in November is expected to bring about fundamental changes to the country’s trade and investment arena.

The new law is likely to define what will be expected from domestic as well as foreign investors.

The law is also expected to restrict some of the economic sectors to foreign investors and introduce investor-performance requirements.

Malan Lindeque, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development said in an interview that transparency procedures for foreign investors will also be introduced and that investor registration will become compulsory.

TRACKING

This process will involve investor tracking and management and clear guidelines for investor dispute procedures, the PS said.

“Under the new bill, existing investors are obliged to register with the investment promotion agency, which is the Namibia Investment Centre. The bill provides for a certain grace period during which such registration can be done and regulations should be complied with,” Lindeque said.

The ministry plans to make provision for the establishment of a One-Stop-Shop, which will smoothen entry requirements procedures for investors.

Commenting on privileges (including contracts, incentives and permits) that were granted to investments established prior to the new law, Lindeque said the bill will preserve existing rights.

These privileges will be subject to review by government and upon expiry will automatically cease to be of effect. However, the minister and the investor may agree to its renewal, which then should be on terms consistent with the new law, he explained.

SPECIAL

Lindeque said the ministry is currently undertaking a study to identify the economic sectors that are reserved for government, Namibian investors or those who require special entry requirements.

“Once the study is finalised and the recommended subsectors or business activities have been approved, the details and specification of the economic subsectors or business activities will appear in the regulations of the bill,” he said.

The bill is currently with the cabinet committee on legislation. The ministry anticipates that the bill will still be passed before the end of 2015, he explained.

Lindeque added that it has been proposed that the current EPZ regime will be phased out, and replaced by a new incentive regime covering manufacturing, agro-processing, logistics and tourism.

“The details of the type of incentives have been finalised, but await Cabinet approval,” he said.

Lindeque said the process for the drafting of the new incentive regime has already been done and is awaiting Cabinet approval.

“Meanwhile, the prevailing incentives for manufacturers export processing zone (EPZ) incentives, as well as incentives for exporters of manufactured goods still apply,” he said.

Source : The Namibian