Walvis Bay — Namibia will auction off a chunk of horse mackerel, hake and monk quotas to the highest local and international bidders.

This is to generate funds to buy equipment and urgently needed drugs for Covid-19. However, portions of the said species will be reserved to sustain local jobs.

This is the first time in the Namibian history that fishing quotas will be auctioned and rake in billions to be used to source medicines and medical equipment for the country to battle Covid. Fisheries minister Albert Kawana yesterday in a telephonic interview told New Era that auctioning quotas is the only source to speedily get foreign exchange 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. Hence, auctioning off quotas makes it possible for us to get foreign exchange quickly and stockpile on medical equipment and medicine in this state of emergency as well as the pandemic the world is facing,” Kawana said.

The fisheries minister, however, said that the idea is to strike a balance between getting maximum benefits for the country’s natural resources that in turn will help reduce government debts and dependency while at the same time inject much-needed cash in government coffers.

“The process will be done in a transparent manner and all proceeds will go directly to the revenue account and will be revealed during the mid-term budget review to ensure transparency,” Kawana said.

Explaining the process, Kawana said that 40% of the government quota will be reserved for local companies to preserve local jobs.

“As for horse mackerel, there are 72 000 metric tons, out of which forty

40% will be reserved for local companies.

From the 11 000 metric tons of hake, 40% will also be reserved for local companies while 392 metric tons of monk will all be auctioned to

the highest bidder,” Kawana said.

He added 70% of all quotas reserved for local companies will be a freeze quota while 30% will be for wet processing.

“This decision took into account the fact that the remaining fishing season is very short, especially for hake which is less than two months.

He added that the prospectus for horse mackerel will cost N$1 500 while hake and monk will be N$1000 each.

“One of the conditions of the auction is that anyone that is successful should use Namibian companies to catch the quotas,” Kawana said.

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