Neeef Bill being ‘polished’: PM

The finalising of the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (Neeef) Bill is in sight and should be tabled in the National Assembly before 31 March 2020, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has indicated.

The Bill, according to the Premier is currently before a committee that is doing the final touches before it is submitted to legal drafters for final touches before its awaited tabling the National Assembly.

The interview was a follow-up to another encounter with the PM in December of 2018, where she also promised that the Bill would be tabled during the preceding financial year (2018/2019) when the government had set aside N.dolllars 700 000 for its implementation.

That did not materialise.

There was only one stumbling block as far as I am concerned and that is the requirement that foreign investors should have a minimum of 25 per cent local content. Although we had already adjusted that to say that is only one of the several requirements and that compliance was only going to be determined on the basis of aggregate points awarded. It is not to say once you don't meet this specific requirement [25 per cent], [then] you are disqualified which was the case earlier, the Premier said.

She attributed the delay of the Bill's tabling the time needed to accommodate conflicting views and allow for extensive consultations with interested parties.

Now we actually said that we are no longer putting a figure there. 25 per cent is no longer going to be there. So, with that consensus having been reached, we are now proceeding to finalise the technical works, she said.

According to the PM, a technical committee is hard at work polishing the document.

We are still determined to have the Bill submitted at least to the legal drafters and at least to parliament in the current financial year, she said.

She added: Our hope is that people are not going to come up with new issues because I always say change creates apprehensions. And people don't want change [but] yet change is a permanent feature of our lives.

The government has also been accused of bowing down to external forces when it removed the 25 per cent equity clause in the Bill.

Some opposition parties have been on record to say Neeef had collapsed, and what is left was a mockery of the original plan.

The clause would have obliged white-owned businesses to sell a 25 per cent stake of their businesses to previously disadvantaged Namibians.

In essence, Neeef seeks to ensure that Namibia's resources are shared equitably and in a sustainable fashion.

Source: Namibia Press Agency