Businessman wants NCCI to be led by business people

Ester Mbathera

Northern-based businessman Benjamin Hauwanga, alias BH, wants the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) to be led by business people and not heads of parastatals.

Hauwanga made these remarks when he resigned from the chamber as a board member last week. He remains a member of the chamber.

“It is disappointing to realise that the chamber is not catering to its members, the business community, thus, they are not really there to help the business community,” he said.

The chamber’s current leadership consists of six board members who are heads of parastatals, eight from the private sector, and one presidential advisor.

Bisey Uirab, the Namibia Airports Company’s chief executive, is the current president of the NCCI.

He confirmed Hauwanga’s resignation from the board.

“With regret, the NCCI accepted the resignation of Mr Hauwanga as a director. In his resignation letter, Mr Hauwanga has not stated the reasons that are being alleged in the media that motivated his resignation,” said Uirab.

He explained that in 2021, the board decided to assign board members to the regions to ensure that the national executive leadership was in touch with the chamber’s grassroots constituencies.

This, Uirab said, was to ensure issues affecting grassroots constituencies that cannot be resolved at local levels are speedily brought to the attention of the board for redress.

“Mr Hauwanga was one of the NCCI’s directors assigned to ensure that the NCCI branches in the northern regions, specifically those in the Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, and Oshana regions, are actively represented. Although the NCCI shall miss having Mr Hauwanga in this role, we are confident that a younger emerging leader, more attuned to the needs of female and younger entrepreneurs, will step in to fill the vacuum,” said Uirab.

It is not the first time that business people, especially in the regions, have expressed frustration at the NCCI.

In 2021, a number of businesspeople from the northern part of the country resigned from the NCCI, citing that the chamber had not done enough to represent their interests.

They went on to create an organisation called the Namibia Local Business Association (NALOBA).

Businesspeople from Walvis Bay made a similar move.

In 2018, the then Walvis Bay branch chairman, Johnny Doeseb, wrote to the chamber’s executive director, Charity Mwiya, accusing the head office of maladministration, which he said had led to the decline in membership.

Several members of the coastal branch broke away from the chamber and went to establish the Walvis Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Mwiya did not respond to questions sent to her.

The Windhoek Observer wanted to know what challenges the chamber is facing and how many active branches there are.

This publication also wanted to know if the active branches were in compliance with the chamber’s rules.

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