By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Monday, August 17, 2020.
Namibia will auction off 83 392 metric tonnes of fish this week to obtain foreign currency that will be used to buy medical equipment and medicine to help the country to wear off COVID-19, authorities have said.
COVID-19 has far killed some 36 people and infected 4,344 in the country with 2,379 recoveries, according to information from the country’s Health Ministry, Monday.
The auction process that is overseen by the Finance Ministry started Monday August 17, 2020 and will close on Friday. It is open to both Namibian and International companies.
Executive director of the Ministry, Ericah Shafudah, on Sunday explained that the internationally sought-after Hake and Monk as well as horse mackerel will be up for auctioning.
“Eleven-thousand metric tonnes of hake, 72 000 horse mackerel and 392 metric tonnes of monk will be auctioned both to Namibian and international companies,” Shafudah said in the bidding documents.
She added that the documents can be found on the websites of both Finance and Fisheries ministries as well as the information Ministry’s website.
This is the first time in Namibian History that fishing quotas will be auctioned.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Albert Kawans in a statement last week explained that auctioning of quotas is the only source to get foreign exchange as soon as possible to source medicine and medical equipment.
“Namibia does not manufacture medicine or medical equipment and the situation that we are currently experiencing regarding Coronavirus puts us in a predicament as our country is competing with powerful countries with huge economies, Kawana said.
Kawana also said auctioning off quotas makes it possible for Namibia to get foreign exchange quickly and stockpile on medical equipment and medicine in the current state of emergency in the face of pandemic the world is facing.
The fishing industry is the country’s third largest economic contributor. It’s estimated to be creating 14 000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs.