Govt considers ending fishing quota auctions

Andrew Kathindi

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has hinted that it may do away with the auctioning of its governmental fishing quotas after it managed to only raise a paltry N$8.4 million in August.

Fisheries Executive Director, Annely Haiphene said that the ministry was unsure if and when there will be a next round of auction for the government’s fishing quotas, which was expected to commence this month.

“For now, we have not decided whether we are still going to go on with auction or not. It was experimental, for the first time and now we are thinking of new modalities on how we are going to proceed further. Once a decision has been made, it will be made public,” she told the Windhoek Observer.

She added that an announcement is expected to be made on what the next step for the Ministry is likely to be. Future auctions may well be planned.

This comes as Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi previously revealed that a technical committee had been directed to plan future auction for the next season for hake and horse mackerel, starting in November 2020 and January 2021.

Government managed to only secure N$8.4 million from N$627 worth of bids in the first two rounds of the auction. The paid bids came from five bidders out of an initial 20 whose bids that had been awarded.

Shiimi had initially given indication that while the N$8.4 million government made in the auction was low, they would be forging ahead with future auctions with the lessons learned.

He said that funds generated were needed to support the socio-economic objectives of the country such as the provision of serviced land, housing, health, and education.

“Some Namibians are suggesting that, given the outcome of this first auction, we should abandon auctions going forward. It is worth noting that every great invention starts with an experiment. Most of the experiments fail initially, get refined several times until great results are achieved in the end,” he said.

He had also proposed that punitive measures would be introduced in future auctions including requirements for payment guarantees or bid securities before participation in the auction.

“This will ensure that bidders meet their financial commitments and mitigate the risk of speculative bids. In addition, more time will be given to bidders to arrange their finances. Further, bidders will be required to prove that they have access to fishing vessels,” he said then.

Government’s fishing quota was previously given to Fishcor but has now been redirected following the revelations of the fishrot scandal. As a result, the viability of the fishing company is uncertain.

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