Staff Writer

The government has raised N$628 million from the auction of its fishing quota as part of efforts to generate income to fund COVID-19 related expenditure, the Ministry of Finance announced on Thursday.

Finance minister, Iipumbu Shiimi said the auction had attracted increased scrutiny amid transparency concerns after it was announced. He said, “Section 3(3) of the Marine Resources Act, Act No 27 of 2000 as amended, makes provision for the State to utilize or harvest marine resources to advance any social economic, cultural or other governmental objectives in the public interest.”

The minister reiterated that government had managed to secure twice the value in bids during the five day auction of what it could have secured had the fishing quota been sold at reserved prices.

“The total amount raised from the auction amounts to N$ 627,936,827.10 including the application fees. This is equivalent to 100 percent more when compared to N$315,366,400 which could have been raised if the governmental fishing quota was sold at the reserved prices.

“As a result, it has now been proven beyond doubt that the government was right to take a decision to test the market in order to establish the true value of its fisheries resources,” Shiimi said.

“This exercise should serve as a reminder to us as a nation that the government remains committed to ensuring that our natural resources can be utilized for good benefits in different ways. With this, we are proud of what we have raised from this exercise at a time when we are faced with competing demands due to COVID-19.”

Auctioned were: 11000 metric tons (MT) of Hake, of which 40 percent (4,400MT) were reserved exclusively for Namibian registered companies and 60 percent (6,600 MT) for open bidding to both Namibian registered companies and international companies, at the reserved price of N$7,700 per metric ton.

Seventy-two thousand (72,000) metric tons of Horse Mackerel were on offer, with 40 percent (28,800 MT) reserved exclusively for Namibian registered companies, while 60 percent (43,200 MT) was for open bidding to both Namibian registered companies and international companies at the reserved price of N$ 3,500 per metric ton.

Three hundred and ninety-two metric tons (MT) of Monk was also on offer, with 100 percent (392 MT) of the quota open for bidding to both Namibian registered companies and International companies, at the reserved price of N$ 7,700 per metric ton.

The auction comes as government has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for N$4.5 billion emergency loan money to help it fight COVID-19, with the country as of Thursday having recorded 6,712 positive cases and 60 deaths.