By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Sunday, August 23, 2020.
The Namibian government is facing massive backlash over its intention to sell off its governmental objective fish quotas to both local and international highest bidders.
Some political leaders and legal institutions are already threatening to seek legal action against the process, National Telegraph can confirm.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Albert Kawana earlier this month announced that the government will be selling 83,000 metric tonnes of fish by means of bidding. The bidding process concluded on Friday.
Kawana said 40% of the horse mackerel and hake quotas to be auctioned off will be reserved for Namibian companies to preserve employment while only Namibian vessels will be allowed to catch the fish
The Peoples Litigation Centre’s chairperson Mathias Haufiku also threatened to sue the government if the auction goes ahead.
According to Haufiku the auctioning of the quotas was a “knee-jerk attempt to generate quick money. “At the same time a clear admission of guilt that the government has failed to devise sustainable measures to utilise the country’s resources in a manner that benefits all Namibians, Haufiku said.
Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor, Knowledge Ipinge also condemned the action saying that it goes against President Hage Geingob’s vow of allocating quotas to all 14 regions to ensure accelerated and equal development.
Ipinge said the process of auctioning off quotas to the highest bidder does not seem to prioritise regional development.
However, clarifying the issue, Sunday August 23, 2020, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga said that Namibians should understand that only the governmental quota is being auctioned.
“There are three types of quotas in terms of the Marine Resources Act. These are the commercial quota which is reserved for the allocation of local companies. And is allocated to companies operating in the fishing industry,” Mushelenga said.
He added that the second one is the non-commercial quota referred to as government quota, whose purpose is to advance the economic and cultural or any other government objective.
Mushelenga went on that the third is the reserved quota which is a small portion that may be allocated for commercial or government objectives, depending on the need.
He also said Fishcor’s involvement in a scandal, government had to terminate Fishcor from handling the governmental objective quota.
The fishrot scandal is one of the country’s biggest corruption crimes that landed former Minister of Fisheries, Bernhard Esau and Justice Minister Sacky Shangala behind bars in 2019.