Foreign Investors Get Thumbs Up for Quotas

Government will not prohibit any foreign investors from owning fishing quotas locally but warned that locals will not be allowed to sell their fishing rights to foreign investors.

Speaking to New Era, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau explained that government normally appeals to Namibian investors to invest outside the country and penetrate foreign markets, hence it will be unfair to sideline foreign investors wanting to acquire Namibian fishing rights.

“It will not be fair to exclude foreign investors while we ourselves tell our people to invest outside. We must at least have a certain percentage of fishing quotas reserved for foreign investors,” said the fisheries minister. He said there are over 300 fishing right holders in Namibia.

Esau also vowed that he would not approve any sale of fishing quotas to foreigners by local right holders.

“I will not allow someone to sell their rights to foreigners, we must rather sell to fellow Namibians so that we can localize the sector,” stressed Esau.

During the debate on the fisheries ministry’s budget on Wednesday in the National Assembly, Swapo MP Kazenambo Kazenambo called on the fisheries ministry to take action against fishing companies that fail to hold an annual general meeting or do not present audited financial reports to government.

“This is not proper corporate governance and it is time the ministry holds such companies liable,” stated Kazenambo.

Kazenambo also accused fishing companies of embezzling funds by taking the money made from fishing to invest in other sectors such as mining and farming, adding that “this is criminal and not good governance.”

Kazenambo said government is losing out on revenue because some fishing companies do not provide audited financial reports, hence government does not know how much it must receive in royalties.

“We are just receiving cheques at the end of the financial year but we do not have the records of these companies – this is daylight robbery,” said the outspoken parliamentarian.

Esau concurred with Kazenambo and warned companies violating laws in the fishing sector that government would either reduce their quota or suspend their fishing rights.

“Some companies make promises that they will fulfil certain social corporate responsibilities but these are sometimes not honoured,” said Esau.

Source : New Era