WINDHOEK, DEC 7 – Popular Democratic Movement leader on Tuesday rejected the proposed Investment Promotion and Facilitation Bill (IPFB) “albeit it having been purusantly withdrawn from the National Assembly on 30 November 2021.”
In a statement issued by Roberto Dirkse, PDM Presidential Spokesperson, PDM said it came as no surprise that the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Hon. Lucia Iipumbu attempted to sneak the Bill into Parliament and use the tyranny of
numbers that the ruling party possesses to at the eleventh hour, pass a controversial and highly disputed Bill.
“The Bill in question manifestly defies the principles of an open and free market economy and directly opposes the proposition of an egalitarian society which the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) as a centre-right political party and the Official Opposition of this country champions.”
In addition, PDM said that the proposed Bill was “in its very nature is repressive, absolutist and centralises
power in the hands of the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade as it effectively gives the Minister inexhaustible powers to decide not only who may invest, who is authorised to partner with investors, but also on which conditions said investments may advance and whether or not these investments may be repatriated.”
‘As such, this Bill clearly violates the Constitutional protection outlined in Article 21 (1) j of the Namibian Constitution which states: “All persons shall have the right to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business.” As a young constitutional democracy, this Republic ought to strive to always uphold the ideals of the Constitution, instead, this proposed lacklustre and flimsy Bill directly opposes that.’
The statement said that the Bill severely watered down the powers and functions of the Namibia Investment and Promotion Development Board (NIPDB) and “reduces it to a toothless yes-man, compelled to agree with the autocratic resolutions taken by the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, despite the Board comprising of among the brightest minds in Namibia’s economic and investment fraternity. These concerns have similarly been shared by the Chief Executive
Officer of the NIPDB, Nangula Uaandja who flagged distress in the NIPDB being offered no independence under this Bill. ”
PDM said that despite comparative analysis of investment laws, for example in ASEAN countries clearly illustrating that investment promotion agencies require independence in order to foster a conducive and attractive investment environment.
“Particularly of more concern to the Leader of the Official Opposition is the fact that the IPFB gives the Minister the right to, in consultation with the Chief of the Namibian Intelligence Service, direct and regulate investments “in a manner necessary to maintain security and international peace.”
“Thus, not only does this Bill regulate the fundamental parameters of the country’s ramshackle investment and business environment, it also polices and militarises the business environment in which potential investors seek to operate, with heavy offences and penalties outlined for offenders within the Bill. The Leader of the Official Opposition, with this considered, rejects the consideration of a Bill which would effectively deter the much-needed investment in an already competitive international investment arena and entreats the Ministry of Indusrialisation and Trade, in consultation with the necessary stakeholders, to not only review the Bill holistically, but to also consider and implement the recommendations posed by the NIPDB where necessary.” – PDM