Govt eyes over N$300m from fishing quota auction

19 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



The ministry of fisheries is expecting upwards of N$300 million from the auctioning of “governmental objectives” fishing quotas that had been previously been dished out to the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), which is now at the centre of the Fishrot bribery scandal

Fisheries executive director Annely Haiphene confirmed this to Namibian Sun yesterday, a day after the finance ministry got the ball rolling with a formal request for international and local companies to submit bids for the quotas. Bids close on Friday.

Government recently announced the auction, saying it was necessitated by the need to raise much-needed money for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is auctioning 11 000 metric tonnes of hake, 72 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel and 392 metric tonnes of monk.

Of this, 40% has been reserved wholly for local companies, while 60% is open for bidding to local and international companies.

“It will come to about over N$300 million,” Haiphene said briefly, when asked to comment on what amount government was looking to raise.

The auction was also met with optimism by Matti Amukwa, chairman of the Namibia Fishing Association.





“If it is to raise money, it is fine, as long as enough room is left for local companies,” he said.

According to Amukwa, government also had previously reserved a quota allocation for its “development objectives”, which was also auctioned previously.



Scepticism

Independent economist Mally Likukela however expressed scepticism and questioned whether government had thought the matter through thoroughly.

“It is a premature decision. The idea is okay, but I have a feeling it was not thought through thoroughly. It can be a breeding ground for illegal fishing,” he said.

Likukela added that fishing quota auctioning was considered before in two major economies, but the idea was quickly abandoned because of the administrative problems it created.

“Russia and Estonia have done this, but have abandoned it,” he said.

Fisheries minister Albert Kawana said recently the auction was necessitated by the revenue shortfall caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought the tourism sector, a big money-spinner for government, to a standstill.

“Namibia does not manufacture medicines and medical equipment; these items will have to be sourced from the international market, which will require foreign currency. This is the case because tourism, which used to bring foreign currency at short notice, all but dried up,” he said.

Kawana also cautioned that the auction should not be politicised.

“I believe that government is entitled to generate maximum revenue from the natural resources of this nation, with a view to address a number of socio-economic challenges, such as provision of decent housing and the effects of Covid-19. The good intentions of government should not be politicised, as is the case now.”

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