The overall objective is to ensure efficient business and Intellectual Property registration and a competitive domestic market environment. The programme focuses on the development and adoption of an appropriate legal, regulatory and institutional framework for effective registration, establishment and operation of businesses; the registration, protection and enforcement of intellectual property, standards, conformity assessment and franchises; as well as promotion and safeguarding of consumer welfare and market competition, as important for a vibrant and robust domestic economy.
- Business and Intellectual Property Rights Registrations
The Ministry facilitated the successful launch of the trial Web-based Integrated Companies Registration System (Web-ICRS), a fully Web-based system which is an extension of the Integrated Companies Registration System. The system was built with the basic idea of taking services closer to the citizen. With the E-Government Action Plan in perspective, these would be translated as Government to Government - G2G, Government to Business - G2B, Government to Citizens - G2C and even G2V Government to Visitors services. This initiative was in line with the Ministry’s aim to improve Namibia’s ranking on the World Bank ‘Doing Business Index, on which Namibia was ranked number 132 out of 189 economies, during the 2013 review. This global report measures the basic steps and amount of time it takes for business enterprises to undergo a government process across the lifetime of a business. The World Bank report further indicated that Namibia takes approximately 66 days to set-up a company, compared to an average of 13 days for the best performing African Economy. To address this, the overall forecast was for the Ministry to reduce the time it takes for registration of a company from the current World Bank ranking of 66 days to 100% registration in 10 days, with the aim of improving the Country’s ranking on the ease of doing business to a favourable one.
A total number of 8,140 Companies, Close Corporations, Defensive Names, Section 21 Companies, and foreign Companies registered during the first quarter of the 2014/15 Financial Year, compared to a total of 5,451 registrations during the same quarter of the last financial year, which constitutes 2690 more registrations in the quarter.
Following the appointment of the CEO of BIPA in February 2014 to spearhead the process of operationalizing BIPA, the Bill was finalized and tabled through the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL). The BIPA Board appointed 26 relief workers (20 attached to the Office of the Registrar) for a one year period, renewable pending approval of a more permanent structure. With the appointment of the temporary workers, the office has seen a notable improvement in the time spent on processing applications.
BIPA has secured office space for administrative purposes and archiving the registrations documents of the Registrar of Companies, Close Corporations, Trademarks and Patents. The BIPA website has made online registration possible. Currently, clients are able to submit and reserve names on-line through the Web-based ICRS hosted on the BIPA Website. Dissemination of information related to the Office of the Registrar has also become more accessible via the website.
BIPA has successfully hosted the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Day, well known as the Intellectual Property Day (IP-day), in Keetmanshoop in April 2014, in conjunction with the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Information and Communication Technology. IP Day is celebrated annually in member states of WIPO, to create awareness of the importance of Intellectual Property.
- The Namibia Competition Commission
The Commission is tasked with promoting competitive market conditions through investigation and prosecution of anti-competitive activities, reviewing and approving mergers and exemption applications, and disseminating information to businesses, consumers and other stakeholders.
The Commission facilitated completion of the UNCTAD peer review of the Namibian Competition Act. The review has been completed with the aim to assist the Commission in increasing the effective enforcement of the Act. The commission further adjudicated on 56 Mergers and Acquisitions cases. Of these cases, 2 merger cases were prohibited, 3 cases were approved with conditions and 51 were approved without conditions. The commission submitted the first results of a retail sector market inquiry to the Ministry for review a successfully completed a draft supplier development framework for the Walmart/Massmart group and submitted it to the Ministry for consideration.
Namibia Standards Institution
The Namibia Standards Institution is responsible for enhancing product quality, industrial efficiency and productivity in Namibia by promoting the use of standards and quality assurance and control in industry, commerce and public sector providing conformity assessment services, certification of systems, product and personnel systems, inspecting and testing products and materials as well as metrology services.The addendum to the NSI-BOBS Memorandum of Understanding has been prepared and signed on 1 July 2014. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has also been prepared and signed during the same period. Five Namibia Dairies products were recommended for certification to comply with requirements set out by BOBS 92:2004. Around 180 Volume and Mass meters were calibrated during the first quarter and 161 instruments used in trade were calibrated during this quarter. The NSI further carried out 271 canned fish inspections and 68 canned meat inspections during the quarter.