Business yearns for GOVERNMENT recognition

By Shasimana Uugulu
May 2011
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MOSES Kandume, Chief Executive Officer of Kandume Consultancy Services says applying for a visa or any other home affairs documents can be a tussle and people are now turning to the services of agencies to help them acquire these documents.

Kandume who runs and operates his own agency that specialises in handling applications for work permits, visas, and identity cards among others says there are many reasons why it is important for the Ministry of Home Affairs to recognise legitimate agencies by accrediting them.

Among such reasons is to avoid the flourishing of illegal agents who defraud needy people with fake documentation or no services at all.

“Fraud is a really low act in this field. There are vulnerable people who genuinely need our help and services in the process of acquiring Namibian documents, be it work permits or ID documents. However, there is always a risk of such people falling into the hands of illegitimate agents that want to defraud them,” Kandume says.

He notes how the services of legitimate agencies are becoming increasingly necessary in the fast growing environment where time is money.

According to him, not all people are able to be in long queues waiting for their applications to be processed and that is when the service of an agent becomes necessary.

However, the work of legitimate agencies is made difficult if the Ministry of Home Affairs is not recognising their important role of acting as mediator between applicants and the ministry.

“For instance, if a doctor’s work permit is about to expire, that individual does not need to leave their patients alone to come and join queues. Instead, he should be able to call an agent who will join the queues on his behalf.”

Kandume says some people think agencies are just there to make easy money out of the people but that is “wrong and narrow thinking”.

“Agencies give value for money to their clients, and there is a real market for our services which require government support in terms of laws and regulations. The fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs does not have special preferences on anyone because of the need for partiality leaves us with the room to give clients VIP treatment of our services. That’s the tough part. We are under pressure to satisfy our clients amid of the troubles we get in pushing things at the ministry because the pace of doing things is not in our hands.”

It is Kandume’s views that the issue of fake documents cannot be tackled seriously by sidelining agencies whom some of them are legitimate business contributing to employment creation.

By bringing agencies on board and recognising their services the Government will go a long way to curb the flourishing of illegal agents who engage in conning people, and tarnishing the name of the ministry or the legitimate activities of others.

Kandume established his consultancy in 2004 after realising that there exists a market segment that needs somebody to handle the application of their documents.

Before he went into the consultancy industry, he previously worked for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigrations in the department of passports and citizenship from 1998 to 2002. He then moved from that department to work for immigration at the Trans Kalahari border.

After resigning two years later, he was encouraged to use his rich background in home and immigrations affairs to establish a legitimate agency that help people who cannot join queues acquire their necessary documents.

Today Kandume Consultancy is a vibrant agency employing five with a global network of over 2000 clients in businesses and families, offering additional services such as drafting motivational letters for visas, company registrations, and business advice to foreign clients who want to invest in Namibia but do not know which sector is the best.

Kandume has hundreds of Namibians making use of agency services because of the long queues associated with the home affairs ministry.

He adds that agencies do not receive special treatment from the ministry when it comes to handling of applications but clients enjoy the advantage that they are not the one on those long queues.

Namibia is a major importer of foreign expertise and with this in mind Kandume argues that the country needs to create a more effective process that process applications more faster.

“We are in competition with Botswana, South Africa and Angola in terms of recruiting best minds to the country. However, if we are frustrating applicants by not responding to their application on time they will definitely move to other destinations.”

He adds arguing that that is one important reason why the ministry needs to work hand in hand with legitimate agencies and recognise them so that “fraudsters who play on our nation’s generosity for their own criminal purposes do not find a way”.

Kandume wants the ministry to recognise all legitimate agencies and put up a flexible structure that will be able to deter fraudsters.

He says if legitimate agencies are sidelined, it gives room for the flourishing illegal agents because it would not make them any different from legitimate ones in the eyes of the ministry.

He argues that there should be a differentiation between legitimate and illegitimate agents who masquerade around conning needy applicants off their money.

Most visa applications take about 14 days before a person get it while a work permit can take up to six months. Visas are normally for three months while work permits can be for a year, two or three.

His clientele is over two thousand, and increases every day.

Kandume married Luciana in 2007 and she is the Managing Director of Kandume Consultancy.

The couple find working together as a source of inspiration and motivation to succeed.

“It’s now a lifestyle, working together through the ups and downs of everyday business. The key is to avoid being emotional at the work place. Nothing is personal, all is business. When we are at home we are husband and wife.”

The couple also urges the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to improve the processing of documents and also encourage Government to continue supporting young people’s businesses and protect them from unfair competition until they are self sustaining.

“Local businesses are the major pillar to poverty reduction and employment creation for the Namibian population,” concludes Kandume. PF