The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) is responsible for the development and management of Namibia’s economic regulatory regime, while the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is mandated to promote, attract and retain domestic and foreign investments. The NIPDB also oversees micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Namibian Constitution provides for an economic order “based on the principles of a mixed economy with the objective of ensuring economic growth, prosperity and a life of dignity for all Namibians”. The economy is based on public, private and joint public-private ownership. Namibia’s dynamic private sector provides a range of services including professional, scientific and technical, finance and insurance, real estate, transport and logistics, administrative and support, communication, hospitality and restaurants, health care and the wholesale and retail trade. Businesses are required to comply with the applicable legislation, such as the Labour Act and the Social Security Act, and to register with the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) with regard to tax payments and the payment of value-added tax (VAT).
Companies, businesses and institutions identified in certain acts are also required to comply with their obligations under the relevant acts. This includes registration with the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), designated employers defined in the regulations of the Employment Services Act, No. 8 of 2011 and the Affirmative Action (Employment) Act, No. 29 of 1998.
The interests of the private sector are represented by various voluntary members’ associations, including the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), the Namibia Local Business Association (NALOBA) and the Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF), the largest employers’ organisation. There are also several voluntary members’ associations representing various sectors of the economy. Statutory councils and boards are responsible for the regulatory oversight of professions in a variety of fields to ensure a high level of professionalism.
NAMIBIA INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is mandated to promote, attract and retain domestic and foreign investments. The board also oversees MSMEs.
The One Stop Centre (OSC) for investors was launched at the board’s headquarters in Windhoek in late August 2022. This centre serves as a single point of information and services for investors by providing access to the following government ministries and business agencies:
- Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA)
- City of Windhoek
- Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform
- Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism
- Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security
- Ministry of Mines and Energy
- Namibian Competition Commission
- Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA)
The centre aims to provide efficient services which will simplify administrative procedures and speed up applications by reducing red tape. Services include consultations, facilitation of visas and work permit applications and information regarding the requirements for business registration.
Public services are provided at three levels. At central government level services are rendered by 19 ministries headed by a minister, and assisted in some ministries by a deputy minister, appointed by the president.
Services decentralised by the central government to the 14 regional councils are provided at the second level of government. These services include primary health care, pre-primary and primary education, rural electricity distribution, vehicle testing and licensing, business registration and the provision of housing.
Local authorities, which are responsible for the provision of services in urban areas, are divided into Part 1 and Part 2 municipalities, town councils and village councils, depending on their financial strength. Windhoek is the only local authority that enjoys the status of a city. All local authorities are responsible for providing basic services such as water supply, sanitation, refuse removal and the construction and maintenance of roads. Other powers and functions are exercised in accordance with the Local Authorities Act.
The Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) represents local authority members in Namibia.
Namibia’s close to 100 state-owned enterprises are divided into three categories. Commercial public and financial enterprises and extra-budgetary funds resort under the Ministry of Finance, while non-commercial enterprises resort under the relevant line ministries.
The Ministry of Public Enterprises has been dissolved in line with the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy and the integration of its functions into the Ministry of Finance was completed in December 2022. Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said in his 2023/24 budget speech: “The consolidation of the management of government assets and liabilities in one ministry will assist to bring about efficiency gains.”
In the Country Private Sector Diagnostic report released in July 2022, the World Bank Group pointed out that state-owned enterprises enjoy advantages that inhibit the entry and success of private participants: “These include preferential access to finance (subsidies, guarantees and bailouts) and land, legislated monopolies in specific sectors, preference through policies and oversight practices of shareholders, and multiple roles that create conflict between regulatory functions and operations. The artificial propping up of uncompetitive public enterprises – for example, through public subsidies and guarantees – leads to inefficiencies and imposes a fiscal burden on the government.”
Bailouts of non-performing and poorly managed commercial public enterprises, which have cost taxpayers billions of Namibian dollars during the past decade, have been drastically cut in the 2023/24 budget. In his budget speech, the finance minister said, “Transfers to commercial public enterprises have been reduced significantly over the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework), constituting only N$425.4 million in the 2023/24 financial year. These allocations have been reduced significantly from over N$2 billion per annum in past years.”
*The enterprise is in the process of being wound up.
** This is the first year that Meatco received a transfer.
*** TransNamib did not receive a transfer but the government and TransNamib are finalising a N$2.6 billion financing facility with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Development Bank of Namibia.
PENDING LEGISLATIVE REFORMS
The government is in the process of finalising a number of bills and amendments to certain provisions of acts to address shortcomings and to improve the country’s investment climate.
- The National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill (NEEEB)
- The Public Procurement Act, No. 15 of 2015
- The Special Economic Zone Bill which will replace the Economic Processing Zone which has been phased out
- The Namibian Investment Promotion Bill
ESAMI – Eastern and Southern
Africa Management Institute
P O Box 1836, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 236 965 / 6
NACC – Namibia Competition
P O Box 2104, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 224 622
NIBA – Namibia Insurance
P O Box 283, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 384 029
NASRIA – National Special Risks
P O Box 417, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 229 207
NSA – Namibia Statistics Agency
P O Box 2133, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 431 3200
PSC – Public Service Commission
Private Bag 1338, Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 287 3046
Security Enterprise & Security
Officers Regulation Board
Private Bag 12024, Windhoek