Tuesday 18 May 2021
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NCCI on cliff’s edge

….as more branches speak against leadership


More Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry(NCCI) branches are emerging from their shells to challenge the institution’s leadership for the manner in which the entity’s affairs are being run, with the Swakopmund branch being the latest to air its displeasure.
This comes weeks after the Walvis Bay and Windhoek branches bemoaned the Chamber’s leadership’s decision to take away the issuing Certificate of Origin (COO) duties from branches and other operational mandates.
Whether or not the NCCI’s public challenges will continue, it will surely be determined on whether other branches will follow a similar path.
In the meantime, attention has turned to CEO Charity Mwiya, the first woman to fill the role since the chamber’s formation albeit in an acting capacity, after some branches of the NCCI questioned her leadership.
NCCI’s Swakopmund Branch, in a letter seen by The Patriot, recently wrote a strong-worded letter to Mwiya in which it expresses its dissatisfaction with the lack of support services from the chamber’s head office.
In the letter drafted by Executive Chairman of Swakopmund Branch, Paul Ndjambula, the branch said it had expected better support and experience from the Secretariat and the National Board.
Ndjambula revealed that for the past two and a half years there has been no capacity development provided to the branch although over the past three years at almost every AGM and National Council meeting, issues have been raised about putting systems into place that will support branches.
This is said to have never materialised up to date as there have been no branch visits or engagements from the Secretariat or National Board Members. In his letter, Ndjambula noted that mid 2017 the secretariat introduced the signing of membership on the NCCI website which was done without any consultations or memos sent from the branch.
The branch staff members are said have only discovered the signing of membership on the NCCI website from new members who had come to collect their membership certificates.
Earlier this year, the Secretariat informed the branch that all branches will cease with the issuance of membership certificates as the Secretariat would take up the role of all branches.
Ndjambula highlighted that he was informed that it was going to be done in line of modernizing the certificates whereas all new certificates will have categories of the business membership.
The new system had frustrated the branch’s members as in the past the branch would process membership certificates in a period between two to twenty four hours.
This is said to have resulted in members now having to wait for weeks for the certificates only for the branch to be told that the Secretariat did not have the capacity and that the branch should continue providing the services.
The services from the branch side are said have only resumed in May. Ndjambula expressed that this was an embarrassing situation as this would open up NCCI for criticism from members of the public.
Ndjambula questioned the chambers hasty changes without having planned the best approach for all parties involved.
He further stated that the Secretariat enforced a centralized account system for revenue collection, which his branch had complied with until February this year.
The branch is however said to have found itself not having received a single cent from the membership sign ups or renewals.
As a result the branch’s telephone lines, internet and electricity services have been cut twice this year.
The branch is now left to rely on donation money from Erongo Red while the Walvis Bay Branch has assisted the branch with N$ 30 000 for rental costs.
The Swakopmund branch which is one of the most active branches in the country now finds it difficult to sell and explain the new member’s benefits introduce as no guidelines or memos have ever been provided.
Ndjambula further questioned how members would benefit and access the list of benefits such as five hours of coaching mentorship, SME procurement support from large enterprises, additional training in strategy development and implementation and fee marketing at NCCI branch events among other things.
He concluded by noting that there is a need for the chamber to have better coordination and communication as branches represent the majority of NCCI membership as the branches are the ones that deal directly with SME’s and the grass root levels are feeling the hard pinch of the economic downturn.
In a notice issued last month by NCCI Chairman of the Windhoek Branch, Martin Shipanga wrote to the President of NCCI Sven Thieme, that a unanimous decision to request the decision be reversed was reached during an extensive branch executive deliberation.
The branches highlighted that despite the branch having noted all the points raised to rationalise the decision behind it, the branch was not in agreement with it.
The notice also stated that the branch has viewed the impact of the decision as severely unilateral as no reconciliation was done on the branch’s side touching on how far the accountability of the function from the branch would go.

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