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Tuesday 22 January 2019
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The fishy quotas

Many a Namibian who have felt left out, have waited for the day when Fisheries Minister Esau will announce that ‘fishing rights season is open”. This week, the Minister made the much awaited announcement in Swakopmund.  Social media are abuzz with images of the Government Gazette and Namibians are readying themeslves to get a share of the Namibian dream.
The reason for this fishing frenzy is a result of the imagery associated with those in the fishing sector.  By and large, black Namibians appear to be empowered individuals who live a lavish life, off fishing quotas which they would soon after being awarded they sold to wealthy foreigners.
If there is one thing I am encouraged to note is the change in conditions which the Minister has announced which indicates a shift from the past.  No closed corporateions will be allowed to allowed but only legally registered private companies who have the legal obligation for a rigorous auditing process.  Swimming under the radar will not be helpful as I believe its time Namibia gets a fair return of  its investments.
I was further encouraged to read that if you are currently in possession of fishing rights which will not expire until 2019, do not bother to apply as this time the Minister is casting his net wider to catch in his net, hitherto excluded Namibians.
I truly believe the Minister’s intentions are correct in that we must begin to deal comprehensily and at every opportunity that we can with Namibia’s triple challenges which will seek to eradicate poverty, increase household incomes and reduce inequality.  It is my dream that we will this time, as the media be witnesses to the launches of fishing vessels acquired by Namibians; that we attend factory launches where value addition takes place because we would finally see and witness a fishing industry that truly can be as a complete value chain.
Important to note also, Honourable Minister would be the elimination of politicians who abuse the names of vulnerable people in an attempt to land those much desired rights and who pay a mere pittance to these ‘shareholders”.  I applaud the introduction of share certificates which is proof of shareholding supported by a shareholders agreement.
It is an undisputed fact that the trickle down effect in terms of resources has not yielded the desired results in this vital sector.
That is why you see fish still being classified as a luxury item by Namibians living in rural areas.
The scramble for fishing rights comes as no surprise, considering the amount of wealth well-connected Namibians have amassed while basically doing nothing. They merely sit back and waiti for dividends to be deposited into their bank accounts.
The worrying factor in this in our fishing industry is the fact that Namibians are not eager to get their hands dirty and learn the trade of fishing.
Even those that had fishing rights since independence still do not know the intricate operations of the industry, that is why you see the sector still being dominated by foreigners.
Instead of reinvesting money in the money, such funds are instead chaneled to fund their personal lifestyles.
It is high time government implements measures to ensure that the fishing sector is not milked and seen as a sector in which one can make millions while lying on your back.
Our people should become operationally involved in the sector in order to grow the skill-base.
It is my view that the Minister will apply his mind in a fair and consistent manner as his team scrutinises the applications.




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