The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Tara Shaanika, has called for fair competition among local and foreign businesses operating in the northern parts of the country.
This comes at a time when many local businesspeople in the Northern parts of the country have expressed concerns over the influx of foreign business investors in that part of the country, saying some of them offer substandard goods giving them an unfair competitive edge over their local counterparts.
“Foreign direct investment should be able to add value to the economy and not replace local investors. Allowing too many foreign investment automatically cuts out the opportunity for local investors to make business.,” Shaanika says.
Shaanika also reiterates the need for Government to make sure that laws that govern local and foreign investments are implemented fully.
“Through the legislation foreign investors are supposed to request a permission from a certain minister to be able to open businesses in retail hairdressing, transport because those sectors are reserved for local Namibians only. It is the enforcement of this law that is not happening that is why we still see small businesses being opened up (by foreigners) and they are killing local industries. And we have also observed some uncompetitive behaviours within the business community especially by foreign businesses that are operating in the country were they do not issue tax invoices when buying from them or some are accused off refusing to bank locally and some of them are suspected of trying to avoid paying tax to government,” he says.
Although many business owners blame the influx of foreign investment as the reason for their businesses downfall, Isack Mario, who is one of the biggest business tycoons in the Northern part of Namibia shares a different view, saying that sometimes the slow cash flow in businesses is caused by owners failing to improve their infrastructure and poor customer service as well as not using proper measurements to market their businesses.
“Sometimes the way the business is being operated has a huge impact on the customers coming back to for your service or buying a product, some services offered are not up to standard. You will still find businesses operating with the same damage from four years ago,” he says.
He also adds that, “we need to show people why they should pump money into our businesses and not just them buying because it is the only shop close by. People expect their businesses to grow even when they are selling the same things year in and out.”
Mario says, “people also need to start advertising a lot so that people are aware of the business and the products offered. If we do not go the extra mile to make a profit, other people would come with new products and more attractive ideas customers.”
Mario also believes that it is imperative that businesses people should remunerate their employees according to their worth to ensure workers remain loyal to counter instances of theft and create a positive energy which leads to employees valuing their work and working hard to make a profit.
“I am able to travel around and leave my businesses behind under someone else’s management and I have never experienced theft or people not working. I make sure that my people are well paid so that they can leave a comfortable life that encourages them to work more harder. I believe for a business to be successful you have to make your employees happy,” he says.