Windhoek Cabinet is not impressed with the low level of implementation of several bilateral agreements that Namibia signed with other countries. This was revealed yesterday by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Tjekero Tweya, who briefed journalists on decisions taken by Cabinet on Tuesday. He said Namibia was busy reviewing its country-to-country relationships to ensure the signed cooperation agreements are implemented to ensure tangible results emanate from the agreements. Tuesday’s meeting primarily focused on Namibia’s bilateral ties with the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). Ministries have been directed by Cabinet to take action on issues falling under their respective areas of jurisdiction to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. Several agreements between Namibia and Congo involving eleven ministries have been entered into, some more than a decade ago, but agreements are still gathering dust in ministerial archives with little or no progress made. “We see very little action, yet we continue to sign cooperation agreements. This situation must be reviewed so that we can give more meaning to them for tangible benefits for us [Namibia] and the countries we agree to cooperate with,” said Tweya. Tweya gave an example of the quota for 250 students to study medicine in Cuba, which Namibia has failed to fulfill. Tweya further revealed that the progress report on the agreements entered into by Namibia and Congo is “not healthy”. He said Namibia was given a piece of land in Liambou, Congo to construct a trade and industrial estate where Namibians would go and do business, but nothing has been done yet towards realizing the planned business hub. Plans are also in the pipeline to allocate land either in Windhoek or Walvis Bay to Congo-Brazzaville for the construction of a centre from where it can trade. This newspaper looked at several ministries that are linked to some agreements signed between Namibia and Congo. Under one agreement the trade ministry was supposed to encourage the Namibian business community through the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to undertake exploratory visits to that country. Tweya stressed it is important for Namibians to have premises on which they can do business in Congo. “Products can be produced in Namibia, then transported to Congo, and then the trade and industry estate can act as a trading place.” “The ministry is also supposed to fast-track the ratification of the agreement on promotion and reciprocal protection of investment after the finalisation of policies. This can be in the form of bilateral ties for lowered taxes, protection and easy access for Namibian products into Congo,” he explained. The Ministry of Mines and Energy has been tasked to review progress made on draft protocol on the creation of a joint committee for the execution of a cooperation agreement in the fields of mining, mining industries and geology, which was signed in 2006. “Since it was signed there was no progress; the directive from Cabinet is to review the progress,” Tweya said. The Ministry of Works and Transport has also been tasked to involve Air Namibia to further continue negotiating to service the Windhoek-Brazzaville route. Congo has already appointed Equatorial Congo Airlines for that purpose. Equatorial Congo Airlines SA, operating as ECAir, is headquartered in Brazzaville and currently operates as the flag carrier of Congo. Currently, travellers from Namibia to Congo first have to fly to France and then head to Congo. The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation was tasked to convene the inaugural session of diplomatic consultations during 2016, which will serve as a follow-up mechanism for decisions taken at joint commission sessions. The governments of Namibia and Congo signed an agreement to create the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training – following a decision by the two heads of state Sassou Nguesso and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba – to perpetuate the historical relations that sprung from the former Loudima Technical Secondary School site under the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo), and to develop a multi-faceted cooperation, mutually beneficial to the two states. The development and rehabilitation of the institute culminates from an agreement signed between the two governments in July 2007. Other decisions taken at Tuesday’s meeting include Cabinet’s approval of the framework to be put in place for the declaration of interests, assets and remunerative work outside public service employment by all civil servants.
New Era Reporter
2015-09-10 09:27:58 4 years ago