Fisheries minister Albert Kawana believes Namibian interests should come first before that of foreign entities when it comes to the fishing industry and the allocation of rights.
Kawana, who took over the fisheries and marine resources portfolio from corruption-tainted Bernhardt Esau, said government has so far managed to secure employment for 1 300 fishermen through the allocation of fishing quotas to six entities.
Kawana said this while speaking at the Covid-19 Information Centre on Friday, following media reports that the government has renewed the fishing rights of all right holders at the expense of new applicants.
“I will never sell this industry to foreigners at the expense of Namibians. All 14 regions should benefit. We should learn to eat together as a nation,” he said.
Close to 4 000 fishermen have over the years lost their jobs after fishing companies lost out on fishing rights.
“I am happy to say and to announce that I have concluded the consultation process. I have reported back to the President, I have reported back to Cabinet, as I am speaking to you right know, 1 300 jobs are ready for absorption and this absorption consist of about six companies who have offered the best terms and it will cost government about 19 850 metric tons of horse mackerel as well as 5 826 tons of hake,” Kawana said.
He said the ministry of labour, in terms of the Labour Act, would take over the responsibility of placing workers.
“We will work together with the unions, the affected workers and the industry. Unfortunately because Walvis Bay is currently under lockdown, the process might be slow but hopefully before the end of June, those workers will get their jobs.”
Furthermore, Kawana said he was appointed to the portfolio at the time the industry is plagued by retrenchments as well as legal and administrative loopholes.
He said it is an industry in which the people of Namibia had no trust, and therefore it was decided to first engage all stakeholders to clean up the industry.
Kawana said 81 fishing right holders have had their rights renewed, while 104 new applicants were allocated fishing rights, following a comprehensive process that was handled by the University of Namibia.
Kawana said a total of 5 176 entities, including new and old right holders, had applied for fishing rights in 2018.
2020-06-01 09:57:42 | 1 months ago