WINDHOEK - National Council Swapo Member of Parliament Damian Nakambare, who is also Nkurenkuru Constituency Councillor, has proposed that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources considers amending some of its fishing rights requirements to ensure that all Namibians – irrespective of their social status – can freely apply for fishing rights.
Fishing rights have been issued nine times since independence, in 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2012 and 2018.
However, last year was the first time that some of the old fishing rights expired, having attained the maximum 20 years in terms of government policy and regulatory framework, and were hence being replaced.
A total of 5 193 applications for fishing quotas have been submitted for approval to the fisheries ministry from across the country.
As part of the requirements, all applicants must be a shareholding company (Pty) Ltd, in terms of the Companies Act, 2004.
Section 21 companies, trusts, close corporations, or natural persons may be incorporated as shareholders in the applicant (Pty) Ltd, the rules states.
All shareholders in an applicant (Pty) Ltd company must be issued with share certificates, and there must be a shareholder’s agreement accompanying every application.
With regard to the fishing rights, Nakambare said he is not supporting the idea of extending the fishing rights of current holders.
“We all know that the majority of the fishing rights have been extended since independence for the same people and individuals, benefiting few people and leaving the majority of Namibians in destitute poverty. I appreciated efforts by the Honourable Minister [Bernhardt Esau] when he announced last year that new fishing rights will be advertised widely for all Namibians to apply. The people in the rural areas were happy when they heard that announcement,” he said.
According to him, this made them run around to register close corporation companies with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development with a view to applying when they heard the advert would be coming out.
However, he observed they were very much disappointed when the advert came out because it stated that close corporations will no longer be accepted for fishing rights, and only (Pty) Ltd will be considered.
“Imagine, (Pty) Limited are mostly owned by reputable business people and the majority of these people live in urban areas and not in rural.
The introduction of (Pty) Limited company has disadvantaged many rural women and youth from applying for fishing rights. I am saying this by looking at the requirements to register a (Pty) Limited company which can automatically not easily be met by the people from the rural constituencies of Nkurenkuru, Ncamagoro, Mpungu, Mankumpi, Tondoro, Kapako, Ncuncuni and many others,” he said.
He argued that the current process of allocating fishing rights excludes poor people in the rural areas because of the set requirements, and the system makes it easy for those with well-established companies to apply for fishing rights and in the process is benefiting only a few and the same individuals.
According to Nakambare, these people might register a (Pty) Ltd company under a certain name from a rural area but in reality, none of them is resident in that particular rural area, they only use a name to show that they are from that poor constituency, while in reality, they are not.
“We are the leaders, if we are not doing this for them, who else will do it on their behalf? It is against this background that I propose the allocation of fishing rights be done based on the regions and at the regional level. Because the regional leadership know the vulnerable people in their constituencies,” he said.
2019-05-29 15:19:43 28 days ago