WINDHOEK, 11 APR – President Hage Geingob has encouraged employee share schemes as part of broad-based empowerment.
Delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Geingob said Namibia has to strive towards inclusive broad-based empowerment focusing on farm workers, domestic workers, women, the youth and all disenfranchised Namibians.
Employee share schemes give employees a benefit such as shares in the company they work for at a discounted price or the opportunity to buy shares in the company in the future.
Geingob further said he supports the call by workers unions to introduce a national minimum wage, which is also a Harambee Prosperity Plan proposal.
“Gender parity, the provision of decent housing through housing schemes and introduction of pension schemes will go a long way to empower citizens to retire in dignity.”
The president said his government remains committed to the introduction of a National Pension Fund to cater for those employed Namibians who are currently excluded from retirement fund arrangements.
Government has also introduced the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF), which is under consultation, and aimed at restructuring the private business sector through empowerment pillars that address a variety of needs of previously disadvantaged people.
The president touched on NEEEF’s equity pillar.
“The 25 per cent equity stake will not translate into broad-based empowerment and will be done away with,” he said.
Geingob quoted economics professor at the University of Namibia, Roman Grynberg as saying most Namibians, especially the previously disadvantaged, do not have enough resources to invest in empowerment transactions, nor are they able to obtain access to funding to participate in such transactions.
Geingob said sectors such as mining are particularly capital intensive and come with huge risks during the exploration phase.
He noted that the role of Government was to create a conducive environment, where owners could afford risk capital and participate in equity transactions under NEEEF.
“Those who want to participate in public procurement will have to do more to be NEEEF compliant,” he stated.
The NEEEF Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament before the end of 2018.