Windhoek: Government has imposed restrictions on foreign nationals from competing in the sub-sectors of retailing, hairdressing and intra-Namibia transport in order to protect local small medium scale entrepreneurs from foreign invaders. President Hifikepunye Pohamba said this at the official opening of the 2010 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) on Monday.
' SMEs needed protection from Government although they have to be competitive,' said Pohamba.
Government protection of SMEs comes after impassionate pleas from Namibian businesspersons to protect indigenous businesses from ruthless Chinese traders who are making fake Odelela dresses thereby pushing the struggling self-employed women who are trying to sustain their families through the sell of these prestigious traditional dresses into poverty.
Chinese entrepreneurs have also caused an uproar amongst local entrepreneurs for crippling the Namibian construction sector with poor working conditions by tendering below par construction costs backed by massive Chinese Government subsidies.Chinese entrepreneurs are also feared to be taking over the mining sector through major concessions.
According to official statistics released by the South African Migration Project in 2006 about 40,000 Chinese are already working in Namibia and more than 20,000 work permits have been issued to Chinese citizens in a country with a total population of just two million and an official unemployment rate of more than 50%.
"We want to ensure that our small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) can operate in a competitive environment,' said the Head of State in a statement read on his behalf by Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku.?The President said the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) will be recapitalised and restructured in order to serve industrial and agricultural development effectively by supporting the implementation of development initiatives by SMEs.?These interventions will have the required impact of improving the success of the SMEs and their capacity to able to create employment, generate income and eventually combat poverty and unemployment, he said?.
Pohamba praised the Ongwediva Town Council, the OATF Preparatory Committee, exhibitors, sponsors and all stakeholders for successfully hosting the 10th OATF this year.? The 2010 OATF started Friday last week and is expected to end on Saturday.