Alweendo clarifies entitlement remarks

Martin Endjala

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo says that Namibians must ready themselves if they want to participate in the oil and gas sector. Alweendo was clarifying his remarks of entitlement which he said was misconstrued.

“I was saying, As Namibian companies and entrepreneurs, whether it is going to be in the oil and gas sectors or mineral sectors. Let us not sit back and hope that somebody is going to do it for us. It won’t happen, but it will only happen through hard work. I know what I said has been misconstrued by the media saying Tom Alweendo doesn’t want Namibians to participate. I will repeat. If you are going to participate effectively, you need to prepare yourself,” said Alweendo.

He argued that Namibians cannot sit back and think that the Namibian endeavours are going to make it happen just because they are Namibians.

He stressed that it will never happen and he will continue preaching about it until Namibians are ready.

The minister clarified this during the inauguration of National Power Utility (NamPower), Auas-Gerus 400kV transmission line substation, near Dordabis on 26 April.

This comes after his remarks about local people who wish to participate in the oil and gas industry should not feel entitled to the newly discovered natural resources, during the Namibia International Energy Conference held in Windhoek last week.

“I have a special message for the Namibian entrepreneurs who wish to participate in our nascent oil and gas sector. First and foremost, let us not create any sense of entitlement, an “you owe me” attitude. Entitlement is a belief that I deserve something without making sure that I deserve it. Let us accept personal responsibility for our successes or failures.

Nobody owes us anything, so do not expect to receive handouts on a silver platter. No one is going to hand you projects and jobs just because you are a Namibian. You need to be ready, collaborate and compete,” he advised.

Alweendo stressed that he acknowledges that oil and gas is a new industry for Namibia; therefore, naturally, it currently lacks the required expertise.

He argued that it should not deter Namibians but embolden them to acquire as much industry knowledge, training, and insight as possible now so they are ready to jump right in.

Alweendo urged entrepreneurs in the sector to be proactive and innovative in how they prepare for the upcoming challenges.

He highlighted the need to develop plans now to speed up production as soon as the discoveries are determined commercially viable. Alweendo further urged oil companies to play their role regarding Namibian local content.

He added that companies will be required to submit to the ministry their annual capacity-building and Namibian content plans.

Lilongeni Unoovene, a renewable energy consultant, has urged the ministry to create an enabling environment for local participation in the oil sector.

“What he is saying is correct. However, knowing how politicians are, let’s see if he allows an enabling environment for local businesses to participate in the oil sector,” said Unoovene.

Unoovene told this publication that the ministry needs to robustly create an avenue for local participation in the sector by amending some of its policies that do not address the local content.

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