Windhoek – Namibian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Albert Kawana has unveiled a raft of measures to ensure locals participate more in the lucrative fisheries sector.
Apart from making it easier for Namibians to directly participate in the sector, the measures include provisions to compel foreign fishing companies to source locally-produced consumables.
Minister Kawana announced the changes this week as he revealed rights holders for the new fishing season.
He also said, “It is my responsibility to make sure that we weed out corruption in this sector and those that have tips on it should report it to the authorities and at the same time I want to make sure that this industry benefits every Namibian without discrimination. We are very aware of the need to make sure that Namibians are prioritised in the industry, hence we have made a historical decision today which will see many of our people benefiting from this.”
Seventy-three percent of bid winners were allocated fishing rights for the first time.
The Marine Resources Minister said, “I am pained that some applicants that also qualified for the resource did not make it because of the size of the resource available, so we need to grow the resource and make sure that all Namibians gain access to the fishing resource in future.”
Minister Kawana said while it was difficult to strike a balance between resource availability and demand, allocations considered such demographic groups as war veterans, people with disabilities, marginalised communities, women and youths.
“It is my wish that we make sure that those that have benefited from our resources improve the life of our people, that era where even food eaten in this industry is imported is over. I will make sure that even tomatoes consumed in this industry are sourced locally from our own people so we improve our economy,” he said.
The minister called for tightening of legislation to plug loopholes used by some Namibians to opaquely front foreign interests.
“We also do not want to see situations where our people are used to playing front to acquire these rights and sell them to foreigners. Our aim is to make this industry an empowerment tool for Namibians,” he said.