Govt threatened over fishing quota auction

24 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



The People's Litigation Centre (PLC) has threatened to drag the fisheries ministry to the High Court to review a decision by minister Albert Kawana to auction off government's “development objectives” fishing quotas to the highest bidders.

A petition has also been started by the Eshisha Development Organisation against the auctioning of the three quotas - 11 000 metric tonnes of hake, 72 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel and 392 metric tonnes of monk.

Of the quotas up for grabs, 40% has been reserved wholly for local companies, while 60% is open for bids from local and international companies, with bidding closing today.

In a strongly worded letter to Kawana, which was also sent to the finance ministry, the PLC said the auction, for which bids by international and local companies opened earlier this week, “does not support the ideals of transparency and accountability”.

“In the event you fail to heed our request [to stop the auction], we shall together with our stakeholders and various interested parties approach the High Court to review and set aside the decision of the minister of fisheries to auction the fishing quotas as well as to have set aside any arrangements that may have been entered into,” the centre said.

It further questioned the delay in the allocation of fishing quotas to applicants who had applied in 2018.

“It is shocking, considering the fact that 5 176 companies that applied for fishing quotas in 2018, about two years ago, are yet to receive substantive responses.”

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) Walvis Bay also voiced its disappointment.

“We are not supporting it [the auctioning of the quotas] and will not allow this nonsense to proceed. Mr Kawana and his mafia team must discontinue with this quota auctioning proceedings. We are not and will never entertain this nonsensical proposition of selling fish quotas to the international highest bidders, while our industry is allowed to collapse,” the movement said.

It also called for mutual respect, saying: “It is either we respect each other or we will replace your salad with something smelly.”



Petition

Eshisha Development Organisation chairperson, Sakaria Kandenge, said the 'public bid invitation for auction', released by the finance ministry earlier this week, does not indicate a fair distribution of national resources to all Namibians, based on the conditions attached to the bid invitation circular document provided.

“No special provision is made for financially vulnerable registered companies or non-profit organisations, with an emphasis on the youth and vulnerable communities or individuals,” he said.

Kandenge also questioned the timing of opening of the bids, saying it was short notice for prospective bidders to participate.

“We believe that the four days or so and the time for the awarding process, given within a short notice for companies to submit bidding applications, is too short and we propose that it must be extended to allow further consultations for public information,” he said.

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