Namibians urged substitute expensive imported goods with local products

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Ipumbu has called on Namibians to consume local products to mitigate high international price hikes.

The Minister said this on the occasion of the Buy Local Grow Namibia Informal Sector Engagements campaign launched today which supports the recovery of Namibia’s local businesses by calling on all Namibians to Buy Local and Grow Namibia by purchasing local products first.

Additionally, the campaign aims to help Namibian businesses promote their products and services and encourages Namibian’s to support their community by shopping locally.

Ipumbu said ‘’this is critical especially given the commodities supply constraints due to the global phenomenon such the Russian-Ukraine war and the COVID – 19 pandemic, which have led to escalation of global prices of goods and services. We therefore need to embrace and consume what we produce locally in order to improve our productive capacity through the support to our local suppliers including those of the informal sector’’.

She noted that the campaign is made possible with support from our partners such as the United Nations, Team Namibia, The Namibian and Weatherman and Co who have continued to provide the much needed support to realize the transformational change required for our local products to have better access to markets.

‘’Today, it gives me great joy and pride to witness another hallmark event in the recognition and inclusion of our informal sector in this campaign. The Buy Local, Grow Namibia: Informal sector engagement is truly a signal to the commitment we made as a Ministry through the Namibia Trade Forum to create a platform where we engage with the informal traders in a bid to understand their functioning and devise modalities that will bring them in the mainstream of the economy,’’ she said.

Ipmubu further shared her pride to see institutions such as MTC, Namibia Breweries, Namib Mills, Jabu and Tambula, Shoprite and Spar as this signals the collaborative and collective effort needed to help informal traders.

‘’Earlier this year, The Namibian newspaper reported that the informal sector is currently the biggest investor in the Namibian economy, accommodating at least 56% of the country’s workforce. This is a remarkable contribution and indicates the potential that lies in a sector that now more than ever needs our attention and assistance especially given the impact of COVID-19,’’ she said.

Consequently, she opined that solutions are cross-cutting as the sector’s challenges vary from health and safety, procuring, innovation to mention a few, thus some solutions lie with the public sector and others with the private sector but by working together a difference can be made.

Ipumbu additionally commended the hard work done by the Namibia Informal Sector Organization (NISO) over the years to help improve trading conditions for the informal sector.

‘’I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the NISO under the capable

leadership of Mr Kandenge and his team. I have been duly informed that they have worked on and delivered a code of conduct, which provides operating guidelines for the sector. I am also aware of their work to improve procurement conditions from our big producers as well as continuous research work, which will inform its interventions,’’ she noted.

Most importantly, she said embracing different solutions such as e-commerce as an enabler for wider trade including leveraging on affordable packages from the country’s network providers such as MTC and Telecom to expand trading solutions.

MIT was also an active participant in the development of a Code of Conduct by NISO that was launched in November 2021.

The development of the Code of Conduct is based on 17 Guiding Principles, which intends to advocate for the formulation of policies, which will enable a conducive environment for operators in the Informal economy to conduct their businesses successfully.

By Observer