…laments bureaucracy, sluggishness
Leake Hangala, a prominent businessman, says he has seen too many cases where decisions around business opportunities have been driven by political considerations rather than those of economics or efficiency.
“I have seen too many cases where our decision-making concerning proposed domestic or foreign investments projects has been sluggish or too slow, resulting in forfeiture of opportunities by default. I have seen too many cases where that decision-making has not been sufficiently transparent. I do think things are getting better, however, we do not have any more the luxury of tolerating inefficiency in our administration,” he said while speaking in Ongwediva at the Trade Fair Gala Dinner recently.
Hangala, the Executive Chairman of Hangala Group, called on investors-both local and foreign-to break the state of frustration and artificial despair they face on a daily basis, and focus on working and taking on challenges toward the goal they yearn to achieve.
Hangala said: “Whether we would wish it in theory or not, Namibia’s economy must be an open one, for our domestic markets are simply not large enough for us to turn our backs to the world.
And if we are fated to face the world, then we must do so, yes, prudently, yes, watchfully, but ultimately accommodatingly.”
He said to attract foreign investors, Namibia must put in place process and systems that are attractive and compelling.
Hangala also lamented the bureaucracy in government when it comes to decision-making.
The former Nampower boss also highlighted the need to promote good partnerships between public and private sectors, adding that there is need for partnerships that has a win-win outcome.
“Having spent much of my life on both sides of the equation, first in government, then in the private sector, I can say with some confidence that the divide between public and business sectors need not be large, that the bridges between them can readily be built, and that if we succeed in doing so, we will find that our resources and results are not merely doubled, but increased exponentially,” he noted.
“I have a concern when I look over our land that we sometimes pay too little attention to the human dimension.
Some of this is of course the burden of our colonial history, which left us a land rich in resources, populated mainly by poor people, a land of vast empty spaces where so much contestation occurs over access to small plots and parcels,” he lamented.
Some of it, he said, is driven by the scarcity of capital as well as the absence of creativity, imagination, exposure and foresight.
Hangala underscored the need for added employment creation in the private sector.
“We must try to see how to create employment, including establishing industries for which I am sure local authorities will find land to locate them.
We must boost our agricultural production by embarking on food processing industries.
I have been encouraged by the discovery of the Ohangwena Aquifer which I was told, given capital and technology, has water sufficient for hundreds of years to come and can be used for both domestic and irrigation purposes. Let the water from that aquifer compliment those from the Kavango and Orange Rivers and be used to make Namibia a leading nation in food for our people and animals production.”
Hangala urged leaders to inculcate and embrace a culture that promotes entrepreneurship.
“We must also not be intimidated and shun away from efforts and policies that will help to propel majority Namibians to have direct ownership, management and benefit from the productive sectors of the nation’s economy, be it mining, financial, blue economy, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing as well as service sectors.
We must strive to have our own entrepreneurs who will become industrialists and big co-operate owners,” Hangala said.
“These industrialists and corporate owners will create employment and generate wealth because governments do not generate wealth but entrepreneurs do!
They will also produce ‘Made in Namibia’ for export and foreign currency earnings,” he ended.