Saturday 17 April 2021
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Defining Namibian products tops Wurm’s agenda in new role

The Managing Director of Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia Norbert Wurm has been appointed as the Chairman of the Retail Charter Council for the next three years and he has indicated that coming up with a clear definition as to what constitutes “Namibian produce” tops the agenda.  Brought to life by the Namibia Trade Forum (NTF), and officially launched on the 11th of March 2016, the Retail Charter serves the purpose of bringing about structural transformation to the retail sector that explores ways in which more Namibian products can be shelved in retail outlets. According to Wurm: “This is a great opportunity to make a difference in the Namibian economy and the country as such.  The implementation of the Retail Charter will not only create local value addition but it is also a big part of achieving Namibia’s Vision 2030.  The Retail Charter is about supporting local producers, promoting local products and creating local value and jobs.” Wurm regards the lack of local support and sourcing as one of the current greatest challenges in the retail sector.
“The challenge is that we do not have a large manufacturing base and where we do, we are challenged with cheaper imports which puts more pressure on local producers.  Every dollar spent on imported products or services is lost to the country, meaning that dollar adds value and pays jobs outside of Namibia – it is lost to the local economy.”  According to Wurm, one of the challenges which he will focus on during his term, is to bring clarity and context to “Namibian products”. Wurm: “We need to align on what the definition is of a local product, i.e. where is the line of classifying it as local – how much value must be added locally before we can call it local?  Some products are produced locally but manufactured with imported raw material – where is the line in terms of local and imported? Once we have clarified this, we as the private sector and in collaboration with government need to identify the opportunities for Namibia – where are the low hanging fruit and identify which products are feasible to produce locally.
Then we can ascertain where we can create the most local value to create jobs and sustainably build up our manufacturing sector that can compete with imported products.”  O&L’s Executive Chairman, Sven Thieme regards Wurm’s appointment as testimony to the group’s commitment to growing and developing people into leaders, not only for the O&L Group but also beyond. Thieme: “I am excited and inspired when I see O&L leaders develop and grow themselves not only to make a difference within the O&L Group, but in their communities, society and country at large. Breakthrough leadership is critical in shaping the future of our beautiful country and addressing the economic challenges, and I have no doubt that Norbert will play an exceptional role in finding solutions to the challenges currently faced in the Namibia retail sector.”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NTF, Ndiitah Nghipondoka-Robiati regards Wurm’s appointment as a decision made by the council based on trust and his ability to lead confidently and effectively. Nghipondoka-Robiati: “Norbert has worked with the NTF since its very first meeting and contributed immensely to refining the Charter. His dedication to the process as well as passion for growth at home has resulted in his peers in the Council electing him to continue with the process that he was intimately involved with from the beginning.”  Current members of the Retail Charter Council include the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade & SME Development; Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia; the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group; Shoprite; Team Namibia; Taeuber & Corssen Distribution; Food Lovers Market, and Dinapama Manufacturers.     The council has been selected by the signatories to the Retail Charter and representatives of the FMCG, clothing & apparels, and building supplies sectors.

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