THE new Investment Promotion Bill which has progressed to its final stages and was submitted to legal drafters for scrutiny before tabling in Parliament must thus be seen as an attempt to promote and protect investment in Namibia in terms of the Constitution, while balancing the public interest and the rights and obligations of investors.
The bill provides a legal platform open to all and sends a clear message to foreign investors and the international community of Namibia’s new approach to investment protection, thereby enhancing the security and predictability of the country’s foreign investment regime.
Positively already, the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development has revealed that it started drafting the regulations for the new Investment Promotion Act, which will form part of the governing structure under which investments will be admitted into the country.
Investments in Namibia have always been present but the new investment Promotion Bill provides the edge needed to take national investments to another level. We cannot speak in isolation of the fact that during the 2015/16 financial year, the Namibia Investment Centre facilitated new investments to the value of N$409 million, which created about 260 jobs in various economic sectors such as tourism, hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and services
During the same reporting period, the Ministry of Trade, through its investment promotion agencies implemented measures aimed at nurturing domestic investment and attracting foreign direct investment. The ministry facilitated 13 new investments worth N$2.8 billion and committed to create 836 permanent jobs. These investments are from South Africa, Germany, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Dubai.
Given the aim of the new bill is to protect public interests and safeguard the rights of investors, the Government is pursuing important public policy objectives by giving protection for inward and outward investments and retaining policy space. The bill provides a good institutional environment for investors, which aims for a legal and policy framework attuned to sustainable development and inclusive growth. It’s also important to note that the new bill has several things that support Namibia’s policy shift into a new dispensation. These include constitutional guarantees that mitigate the risks to foreign investors, the constitutionally mandated need to reclaim policy space, an unacceptably high level of unpredictability in interpreting treaties and the ambivalent empirical evidence on their importance in attracting foreign direct investment.
Ultimately, the bill can be seen as taking an approach that is consistent with the emerging framework of global administrative law, applying Namibia’s domestic administrative law principles to its investment policy. This approach supports Namibia’s fledgling democracy, which should strive towards principles of transparency, participation and accountability.
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