The Popular Democratic Movement Leader McHenry Venaani says he is unhappy with government’s continued dismal approach in making deals with foreign investors, saying that it is high time that government starts making bold steps in negotiating deals with investors.
Venaani said that Namibia has an abundant of mineral resources, however the exploitation by foreign investors who mine this minerals on their own terms and not that of government, is a cause for concern as more and more communities continue to see no light at the end of the tunnel.
“Government needs to take bold steps. To say that we should dance to the tunes of investors who dictate the negotiations is absurd. Then they can go, we need to start adding value to our minerals to benefit our own people”, Venaani expressed.
The PDM leader said this during last week’s parliament session, responding to concerns raised by the Minister of Labour Utoni Nujoma who reiterated that as much as government is being advised to promulgate laws to strengthen its negotiation deals with investors, this is a challenge as investors may decide to go invest elsewhere.
“Even if we bring in new legislations, investors can say okay, since you are not giving me what I want, I will go invest elsewhere, and what can you do about that? We need the investors”, explained the Minister.
He is therefore of the opinion that collective efforts need to be undertaken to ensure that all Namibians benefit from the resources of the country.
Venaani, who is in support of a motion tabled by the Landless People’s Movement Deputy Leader Henny Seibeb calling for the discussion on the current lithium mining in Uis district, in the Daures Constituency, in the Erongo Region.
With a commitment to find an amicable solution to overcome the stand-off between the community, the mining business and the Traditional Authorities, will tomorrow refer the motion to a relevant Parliamentary Standing Committee and the report will be tabled in the Assembly in two months time.
Venaani stressed that the reason many or some African states have Presidents or leaders who are richer than their own countries, is because they are exploiting resources, meant for social upliftment.
“We cannot have our own communities at the mercy of investors, we need to promulgate laws that can benefit our people, every mining sector which wishes to operate within that area must ensure that it employs people for that community, “he added.
He is also of the view that government needs to do away with ‘secretive’ dealings, citing this as one of the reasons why Namibia is being bullied by investors to agree to deals that are of less benefit to Namibian people.
“We need to create a conducive environment to promulgate laws that will benefit people, we support the motion, and that deeper interrogations ought to be carried out in this matter”, opined the PDM Leader.
Meanwhile, Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa, called on a speedy investigation into the matter for a detailed report to be tabled in parliament by the standing committee in order to do justice to the motion, thus stressing that it should not take too long.
The Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga, concurred with the sentiments shared by the MPs, saying that the discussion on the matter comes at a perfect time, when the Ministry is busy reviewing its diamond and mineral act as well as policy content.