‘Blame game not an option’

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step and likewise it is our responsibility to make a contribution towards skills development”, adds the indefatigable Morar.

He and wife Sheila have over the past two decades started and successfully grown several enterprises including well-known fabric and haberdashery firm Chelsea Fashions.

Chelsea Fashions’ investment in human capital may on face value seem modest but it is methodical, structured and constant.

Sheila Morar says, “Our success in business would not have been possible without the support of a dedicated and focused work force”.

The Morars recognise “people” as their most important asset and for this very reason they pay attention to staff development.

Recently the Morars decided to ratchet-up staff development to an even higher level.

They approached consultancy firm SMEs Compete that specialises in enterprise and entrepreneurial development in the SME sector, with a request for help to develop a tailor-made programme on business in general and more specifically on how to operate successfully in an increasingly competitive open market economy like Namibia.

This initiative resulted in 10 employees, five supervisors and five support staff, receiving training over the past two weeks.

The Home Affairs Ministry regularly comes under fire for slow processing of entry and work permits for businesspeople.

The business sector representative body, Namibia Chamber of commerce and Industry (NCCI) has been at the forefront and particularly vocal on delays in the issuance of entry documents.

The general belief is that the relaxation of entry restrictions for those who possess skills not readily available locally and for investors will in the long run accelerate growth of the economy.

The Morars say local firms must allocate resources for development of staff if they are serious about making a contribution towards redressing the country’s skills deficiency.

“If more firms invest in people, particularly in those who come from previously disadvantaged sections of the community, we will show our public sector partners that the enterprise sector does not engage itself in the blame game but actually makes a contribution to develop people’s skills”.

The Morars feel this in itself will put pressure on the country’s bureaucracy to perform optimally and not to be a stumbling block.

Navin Morar hails from a family with nearly a century of business experience in Southern Africa.

The tradition continues with the next generation.

Two of their three sons already hold key positions in the family’s business interests.

This has left Navin and Sheila free to explore other business and investment opportunities.

A year ago they opened the Taal Indian Restaurant. Construction of a new high-rise building in the capital city’s central business district was recently completed too.

Other business ventures are in the making.

August 2006
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