Fishing quota auctioning model better

11 August 2020 | Opinion

A lot has been said since news broke that government plans to auction off fishing quotas to help raise money needed to fend off the advances of Covid-19.

This comes hot on the heels of suggestions by the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy, appointed by President Hage Geingob, that government must introduce a new regime of distributing fishing quotas.

Panel chairperson Johannes !Gawaxab remarked at the time that the current fishing quota system benefits individuals more than it does communities.

As one of the prime resources Namibia has, fish ought to feed more mouths – even monetarily – than fill a few pockets of individuals who would only buy flashy cars, go on promiscuous trips to the Maldives and pile more storeys onto their posh homes.

Rather than being an exception, auctioning fishing quotas should actually be the rule. Enterprises that want to exploit our marine resources should buy quotas directly from government. What they do with their profits afterwards is entirely up to them.

Giving away quotas for free to people who do not give a hoot to the wellbeing of their fellow countrymen and women is betrayal facilitated by the state itself.

Initiatives such as the campaign to have more Namibians eat fish, through the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust, are cosmetic and elitist schemes that do not address fundamental issues of poverty and economic emancipation.

Developing a country is no rocket science. We just need political will and fortitude.

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