THE High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy (HLPNE) did not consult with the local fishing industry at all before recommending that the Government’s portion of the annual total allowable catch was sold to the highest bidder.
Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations (CNFA) is waiting for an audience with President Hage Geingob and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources after the controversial auction raised N$627 936 827 of revenue for the Government.
The Chairman of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations (CNFA), Matti Amukwa, requested the audience with the President and Dr. Albert Kawana with regard to the future of the Namibian fishing industry after the conclusion of the auction that was suggested by the HLPNE.
“The High-Level Panel on Namibia’s Economy (HLPNE) in its report states under Section 3 of the report and I quote ‘The High-level Panel on the Namibian Economy has consulted widely with public sector institutions, the private sector and or other stakeholders such as academic institutions on the various topics,” Amukwa said in the letter.
Amukwa states categorically in the letter that neither the CNFA nor any of its subsector associations were at any stage consulted by the HLPNE and said the process to sell the Government Objectives Quota to the highest bidder will have a negative impact to future operators and may ultimately lead to job losses.
“The operational needs of the industry which contributes around N$5, 6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and its direct employment of about 16 000 employees and a substantial amount of indirect jobs were not considered. The recommendations of the panel without the input of the industry are not in touch with the reality of the industry,” Amukwa stated.
Amukwa said that association wishes to engage the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources on an urgent basis to discuss and find an amicable solution that will attend to the needs of the Government without harming the industry.
“We are looking forward to hearing from you regarding the date of the meeting. Comrade President, we are looking forward to sharing our views with the Minister of Fisheries and Marine resources,” he said.
Despite protestations from the fishing industry, the auction went ahead as planned and the Minister of Finance, Ipumbi Shiimi announced on Thursday that the treasury has potentially raised N$627 936 827 from bidders.
Shiimi said in the announcement that the potential amount raised far exceeds the N$315 366 400 which would have been the revenue if the quota was sold at reserve prices.
“As a result, it has now been proven beyond doubt that the government was right to take a decision to test the market in order to establish the true value of its fisheries resources. With this amount, we are confident that it will go a long way in funding government priority programs such as improving sanitation, hostel facilities, and other expenses exacerbated by COVID-19,” Shiimi said.
In his letter to the President, Amukwa said that the Namibian fishing industry comprises of a number of sub-sectors responsible for the catching, processing, and marketing of specific species. Each of these subsectors has its own operational dynamics and is organized under the industry’s sectorial associations which represent the subsectors’ interest.
Amukwa said the Sub-sector Associations are affiliated to the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Association (CNFA) which deals with cross-cutting issues of the fishing industry. The respective associations are represented at the CNFA by their respective Chairpersons.
Amukwa concluded that the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations understands the need of the Government and supports the initiative of the Government Objectives Quota.