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Vol. 22 No. 180 Windhoek, Namibia Monday, April 24 2017 Ratings upgrade to boost investor confidence in Namibia Inside Today Recovering diamond market could result in more cutting and polishing factories With diamond sales demand picking up in 2017, coupled with a relatively new sales and marketing agreement between the government and De Beers, the Namibia Diamond Trading Company has not ruled out the possibility of more players entering the cutting a polishing arena. Page 11 Goals galore in Debmarine Namibia Cup All the trauma of the past few weeks that threatened to throw the newly introduced Debmarine Namibia Cup into turmoil was put temporarily aside as action resumed last week, despite six of the country’s leading clubs from the elite football league being notable absentees from the field of play. Page 24 Staff Reporter Windhoek The international credit ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, has upgraded Namibia’s national rating to the AAA grade - a prime grade it allocates to countries whose economy and fiscal standing are most reliable and stable. Fitch’s upgrade on Friday boosts Namibia’s standing in relation to South Africa, whose credit rating was recently Photo: Nampa Happy day… Swapo Party members and Cabinet ministers celebrate with President Hage Geingob (centre) at the party’s 57th birthday celebrations at Otjiwarongo on Saturday. See full report on Page 5. Chrispin Inambao Nkurenkuru Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku says the region lags behind other regions, partly because of rolling budget cuts that have delayed the construction of a new government office park planned for the region. The cuts also stalled the construction of new houses for the police downgraded to junk status, which means it is regarded as being not investable and its bonds no longer credit worthy. Fitch also upgraded Namibia’s senior unsecured bonds rated on the national scale to AAA from AA+. Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein greeted the news with a tweet that the upgrade “is an indication that our fiscal stance and consolidation is paying off”. Yesterday, he told New Era that he believes the upgrade “distinguishes Namibia from South Africa and shields Budget cuts stunt growth in Kavango West force and other government officials deployed there. Ausiku listed the challenges faced when she briefed Vice President Dr Nickey Iyambo when he met her at Nkurenkuru on Thursday as part of his visit to Kavango West and Kavango East, where he is interacting with chiefs, councillors and Swapo Party functionaries. WEST on page 2 Namibia from collateral damage as a result of the South African downgrade.” The upgrade is in respect of the South African market only. “This shows that Fitch realises that Namibia has a credible consolidation plan in place and that the plan is working.” UPGRADE on page 2 Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein Revised NEEEF Bill draft expected in May Staff Reporter Windhoek The New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) Bill remains in draft form and Cabinet is expected to receive new proposals on a number of issues raised during public consultations. Among the items to be addressed in the new proposals is the 25 percent compulsory divestment, the very component that has some member of the public worried over false claims that business owners would be forced to give away a portion of their companies without compensation. NEEEF on page 2 Photo: Chrispin Inambao Fresh produce… Front from left: Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa, Vice President Dr Nickey Iyambo and Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku receive tomatoes and green peppers from Sikondo Agriculture Green Scheme from its project manager, Hendrik Kleynhans (partially obscured on the far right) when they visited the project on Friday. proud Graduate New Era Newspaper @NewEraNewspaper #NewEraNewspaper • •

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167