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Prepare for oil opportunities - Shiimi

2024-03-18  Maihapa Ndjavera

Prepare for oil opportunities - Shiimi

NAMIBIA is falling behind in its readiness to enter a burgeoning oil and gas sector, according to Finance and Public Enterprises Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, who says the country must adequately prepare to fully reap the benefits of a lucrative hydrocarbon industry. 

“I believe we are not ready as a country and I think we must look at it from different perspectives. For us to be able to reap the full benefits of this new industry, the oil industry, we must have the skilled human resources that are going to work in those industries,” said

The minister made these remarks during a recent discussion after tabling a N$100.1 billion 2024/25 budget. The dialogue was organised by Standard Bank Namibia, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Namibia Media Holdings (NMH) and Market Watch, under the theme; ‘A New Dawn: Stimulating Sustainable Local Economic Growth’.

During the tabling he advised Namibians to focus on developing skills and sharpening tools to effectively take advantage of national resources. 

He stressed that Namibians should not sit back and wait for the benefits of recent oil discoveries to come to them but should already exploit the opportunities presented by the budding petroleum industry. 

Shiimi further encouraged local businesses to start thinking of how to provide goods and services for the emerging sectors.

In his budget statement, the minister said the government remains broadly attuned to the need to invest in human capital development as the catalyst for sustainable development and poverty reduction in the long-term.

At the same budget discussion, CEO of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), Nangula Uaandja said local content is important, but warned it sometimes comes into conflict with investments. 

Local content is described as the value the extraction of oil brings to the local economy, beyond actual resource revenue.

“If you overextend on local content, you can slow down the investment. So how do we balance the two? Local content policy is important to some extent, but if we put conditions on foreign companies that are investing, when we are not ready to help them meet their obligations. Those conditions, because we don’t have the local companies to offer these services and we don’t have the local skills to provide them, then local content is questioned,” said Uaandja. 

During a recent interview, petroleum commissioner in the mines and energy ministry, Maggy Shino, said government has placed a strong focus on achieving value creation through local content. 

“There are significant opportunities along the oil and gas value chain for Namibians to participate, especially in servicing the exploration sector. First, we need to build the capacity, both in the local workforce and in the institutions that will help oversee, develop and regulate Namibia’s oil and gas industry. We also have an obligation to share up-to-date information with the Namibian people so that they can prepare effectively for first oil production,” said Shino. 

She added that the oil and gas industry also has an obligation to ensure that knowledge and skills are transferred to build the capacity of Namibians. 

“We would like to inform those envisaging to service the Namibian oil industry that local content is mandatory and the Namibian government will not compromise in providing opportunities for its people to participate meaningfully in the industry,” Shino advised.



2024-03-18  Maihapa Ndjavera

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