WINDHOEK - Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau yesterday stressed that the deadlines for the application of fishing rights will not be extended.
This is after the application deadline was already extended from the initial deadline of 31 July to the end of August.
“The deadline is August 31st at 17h00,” said Esau while at ongoing Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF).
The fisheries ministry’s spokesperson De Wet Siluka noted that Esau made the announcement early yesterday morning on national broadcaster NBC and was also expected to reiterate his position at the Fish Talk events at the OATF.
A number of organisations and individuals have requested an extension on the deadline after concerns were initially raised by the public during the national consultation workshops held in all 14 regions of the country.
One such organisation was the Namibia Informal Sector Organisation (NISO) who claim that many aspiring fishing rights applicants had to face monumental costs with respect to company registration fees and exorbitant consultant fees for business plans developments.
“This is further compounded by the general ignorance of challenges in the fishing industry, e.g. fees for vessels, taxation, foreign exchange operations and fluctuations. Certain categories of people who have been promised to gain from marine resources, like people with disabilities, are inhibited by their socio economic conditions to meaningfully partake in the application exercise by some factors like company registration, travelling expenses, etc,” said NISO Secretary-General Veripi Kandenge.
In a statement issued yesterday, Kandenge added: “An extension of the given deadlines might be imperative to allow further interrogations of the various impediments identified if the noble ideal of inclusivity is to have practical meaning in the envisaged new fishing dispensation. These we request, as we have been overwhelmed by various organisations representative of sectors noted above and individuals. We hope this would receive due consideration from the Fisheries Ministry.”
According to Kandenge, there is a need to interrogate and review the practicability of the ministry’s vision and the attainment of the intended aims and objectives.
“Recent experiences have shown that the administrative capacity, and hence efficiency of institutions such as BIPA and Social Security Commission, have been stretched to the limits. Cumbersome negotiations with vessel owners added to further delays in meeting certain deadlines. After due consideration of the above, it is our humble opinion that from the outset the involvement of pertinent partners should have been considered. We have in mind representative bodies such as civil society organisations, business organisations/chambers and corporate companies, employers’ federations, Namibia Informal Sector Organisation (NISO), etc,” said Kandenge.