Our free market system is neglecting us

Dear Editor

First, let me appreciate our Ministry of Finance for the current budget aimed at creating more jobs.

However, I wish to point out that our free market system doesn’t support this country fully to realize her economic freedom if we look at our level of unemployment.

Music sector
This industry has grown overwhelmingly over the past five years. Young people are becoming entrepreneurs through music. They are passionate and energetic about singing. However, our infrastructure lacks behind in supporting them to produce quality music that can really market Namibia across the globe.

Massive employment can be created in this sector. Therefore, stakeholders such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry should prioritize this industry by coordinating or assisting in setting up few CD/ movie manufacturing and packaging plants.

Currently, all CDs are produced and packaged in our neighbouring countries resulting in more jobs being given away. We have immense talents and growth potential in this sector. Young people are burning with music but they need infrastructure since the market is fully behind them.

Retailer industry
Namibia is producing absolutely nothing. She walks completely naked. Browse through all main retailers in Namibia you won’t find any normal colour shirts [white, blue, yellow & red] made in Namibia except few uniforms tried by Namibian ladies.

The Namibian market tolerates too much foreign produced clothes. Our manufacturing sectors have the potential to rescue unemployment. However, Namibia must, at least, produce her basic necessities which can automatically find the niche and boost our trade market. It’s difficult to comprehend even after Ramatex closure, why skills left behind can’t be put to use. Dressmaking is a hobby to most ladies; why not support them to promote ‘Made in Namibia by Namibians’.

Change of approach is needed. Instead of importing ready-made clothes, skills, expertise and quality garments, entice Namibians to produce their own clothes.

Every dress manufactured is a new job created for our people but our manufacturing sector is yet to take off. This free market system has proven nothing thus far, time is now, control and manage it to our benefit. Let’s start with one commodity.

All foreign shops must change their trade status from retailing to manufacturing traders.

We are losing more sitting with these foreign retailers on Namibian soil. If they succeeded to set up manufacturing plants in their home country surely they can assist us to do the same here.

Namibians will be happy to see fully fledged supermarkets packed with our local products other than assisting foreign shops to market and dump their products here. Open the market, limit imports and get to work producing local products for Namibian market.

We have our own dress designers and dress makers here struggling to find a market. Put their skills to work and see what they can do for this country. Change the system. It is time to test our own efforts to produce what Namibians need. If there are scarcities then tenders can be invited from foreign traders to fill the gap. Give Polytechnic of Namibia the role to train for the needs of this country.

Remember this quote: Namibia can’t even produce tooth picks. Yes, a country that has succeeded in setting up a manufacturing sector will always lead the way.

Invite tenders to produce tooth picks and limit other suppliers then Namibia will stand on her own. Let’s walk the talk -open up the market for our local entrepreneurs to create wealth. Entrepreneurs will find it difficult to pay back those loans if the market remains dominated by goods produced elsewhere.

SMEs are struggling to graduate and step up production because the ladder is blocked by foreign businesses. They can’t even create employment except for their immediate families because they compete with imported goods. Give them the power to rule their market and employ more people for better income.

Every shebeen around depict the will and spirit of a people ready to do business but somebody has to coordinate and direct these efforts. Peanut butter producers in Namibia are supported by loans, premises and machinery but despite all this, SMEs remain small perpetually. They need the market share currently in the hands of non Namibian businesses. How will SMEs compete and survive in this uncontrolled free market system?

SMEs present wonderful ideas but most of these ideas are linked and inspired by what the market approves. To penetrate the market they need consumer recognition. That’s why some SMEs battle for recognition continuously. The market leaders will always make it impossible for starters to enter even though they can’t create enough jobs. This needs market regulation in the same way banks are enjoying protection.

Starting a business requires great expertise, so change the focus and encourage experienced people to start businesses. Young people lack physical ability and mental strength to run successful businesses therefore put emphasis on experienced work force.

If doing businesses was easy, most Namibians could be running business empires by now. A business can survive better if run by knowledgeable and experienced owners. Young people are running businesses on zula to survive basis therefore, let experienced work force take up the entrepreneurship challenge while young people finish school.

Currently, only a few young people can succeed in business due to lack of skills mostly in business management, thus give support to decisive minds that understand the money concept, management and negotiation skills to enhance SMEs’ chances of success.

The concept of learn by doing can work better if an entrepreneur has the capacity and ability to deal with all business demands. It takes about a year or more for a new owner to manage and implement business activities responsibly.

Time is running out. People are suffering from unemployment and poverty. PF