Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY –
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi yesterday said government felt vindicated by the massive interest shown by local and international bidders who snapped up over 83 000 metric tons of fish that was offered for auction. Shiimi announced that government is set to generate over N$627 million from the 83 392 metric tons of fish that was sold to the highest bidder.This includes the application fees that were processed during the bidding process. Government earlier this month announced its intention to auction the governmental objective quota to local and international bidders. At least 40% of the said quota was reserved for local operators, while the remaining 60% was offered to the highest international bidders.
The governmental objective quota was previously disposed of by the state-owned Fishcor, which is currently embroiled in an international fishing bribery scandal. Shiimi announced yesterday that the money raised is more compared to the N$315 million which could have been raised if the governmental quota was sold at the reserved prices. “This has proven 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 programmes such as improving sanitation, hostel facilities and other expenses exacerbated by Covid-19,” Shiimi said. He said the exercise should serve as a reminder to Namibians that government remains committed to ensure that natural resources can be utilised for the good benefits of all in different ways. “With this, we are proud of what we have raised from this exercise at a time when we are faced with competing demands due to Covid-19,” he said. According to the released figures, the 11 000 metric tons of hake was sold in total for N$103 million. The 72 000 metric tons of horse mackerel was sold for N$457 million, while the 392 metric tons of monk brought in N$5.4 million. Shiimi also explained the payments by successful bidders are expected to be made to the State Revenue at the Bank of Namibia by next week Monday. “The allocation of the proceeds from the auction will be made to expenditure item during the Mid-term Budget review, and voted for in parliament as per the State Finance Act, (Act 31 of 1991),” he said. Chairperson of the Namibian Fishing Confederation Association Matti Amukwa yesterday said the money raised is a good figure, adding they have always supported government. “However, it is too early to say or comment on that as the true reflection of the sale will only be visible on Monday when the money reflects in the government’s account,” he said. Fisheries minister Albert Kawana last week indicated that the auctioning of quotas is the only way Namibia could acquire foreign currency to help mitigate the costs of the effects of Covid-19 in the country, including procuring medical equipment and supplies. The auction of the fishing quotas has divided public opinion over the last couple of days, with pressure groups threatening court action. One of the fishing entities, which said it is owed over 23 000 metric tons of horse mackerel by government, failed in its urgent application. Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula dismissed the urgent application filed by Seaflower Pelagic Processing with costs.