Saturday 15 May 2021
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Namibians must co-own the country’s resources: Geingob

President Hage Geingob says Namibians must own the countries resources and called on foreign companies to empower locals by giving them shares in companies as opposed to giving local employees certificates of appreciation as has been the case in modern day Namibia.
Geingob made these remarks during his visit to the local diamond cutting and polishing company Almod Namibia this week when it celebrated its 10th anniversary in the Namibian diamond industry.
The President said: “You [Namibians] must co-own what comes from the Namibian soil. We don’t want them [foreign investors] to come and invest and take everything out. They must add value as you [Almod] are doing here so that we can buy our own diamonds here in Namibia. We want you to open a diamond shop here in Namibia.”
Responding to the President’s demand, Almod’s Chief Executive Officer and President Albert Gad said the company will soon open a diamond shop locally where it will sell Namibian diamonds to both the local and global markets.
At presents, Almod sells Namibian produced diamonds beyond the shores of the Namibian borders through a massive retail network in the Caribbeans and the United States of America (USA).
Gad said: “I will work with the Minister of Mines (Obeth Kandjoze) and the Minister of Tourism (Pohamba Shifeta), I had a conversation with them today [Monday] I said we would love to create situations where people can come and buy polished diamonds here in Namibia.
Create a duty free (tax free zone) where people can come in. Why buy in Fifth Avenue in New York? Why buy in Paris? Why buy in London when the diamond comes from the ground of Namibia.”
To this, Geingob questioned a “duty free zone” should be created in Namibia when the country could benefit greatly from revenue that is to be collected through the local sale of the country’s diamonds.
Gad response to the President was rather subtle as he compared Namibia to the Caribbeans where the diamond industry is duty free.
“Yes, the Caribbean Islands are duty free,” Gad vaguely responded to the President. On the contrary however, Geingob was adamant that a duty free zone cannot be created in Namibia.
In addition, Gad pointed out that Almod was not a company that reaps off the communities in which they operate but is a company with a tradition of ploughing back into the community.
The President was presented with a gift captaining finely cut “crystals” as a token of appreciation by Almod Namibia.
Geingob was impressed by Almod’s diamond operations in Namibia but reiterated the importance of skills transfer from foreign expatriates to the locals.
The President said Namibians it was not good that some Namibians work so hard for over 40 years in foreign owned companies just to be rewarded with a “certificate” of appreciation. However, Geingob said true value lies in owning shares in the companies and encouraged foreign businesses to create such platforms for Namibians.
In addition, to celebrate its 10 years in the Namibian diamond industry, Almod will in the near future unveil the “Namibian Star”, a specially designed diamond that is uniquely Namibian, Gad further revealed.
Almod’s decade With Namibia ranked as the 4th largest diamond producer on the African continent, Almod has been one of the local diamond cutting and polishing companies that has benefited greatly from the precious mineral.
During The Patriot’s recent visit to the production site of the company in Prosperita Industrial Area, General Director of Almod Reuven Paikin attributed the company’s success to good functioning government institutions and its ongoing efforts to train Namibians.
He said: “Government systems in Namibia are working very well particularly the Ministry of Mines and Customs who are in direct contact with us.
They don’t put you in tension where you feel that someone is trying to kill your business. You don’t feel offended and the environment is comfortable.”
He further highlighted that: “You (Namibia) are on a very good level (in diamond operations) and we have never found anything that is negative.”
Having started off in 2007 with 10 polishers, Almod Namibia is currently employs over to 150 people -comprising of locals and foreigners.
Almod mainly supplies its polished diamonds to its parent company-Almod Diamond-that was established nearly three decades ago.
The parent company has over 130 retail shops in the Carribeans, Mexico and the Alaskan ports-of-call.
Almod is one of the frontrunners in creating platforms where Namibians from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to learn firs-hand from foreign experts through government’s beneficiation process.
As a consequence, there are young Namibians who are today doing the cutting and polishing of diamond, with many able to do diamond processing which require top of the range expertise.

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