Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP Nico Smit told the National Assembly yesterday that Namibia needs to be smarter when dealing with investors, who undertake mining activities in the country.
Smit made this observation in the light of the recent oil and gas discoveries in the country that of late has the talk of the nation.
Smit’s contribution was in support of the findings and recommendations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources chairperson Tjekero Tweya.
The report recommends that the Ministry of Mines and Energy review its ownership license and conduct regular monitoring on companies involved in mining activities.
The report disapproves of the current 10 percent ownership model of Namcor, saying it is should be increased.
The PDM MP insisted mining activities of foreign investors should be coupled with beneficiation.
He added that beneficiation will lead to job creation, instead of simply exporting the raw materials.
Smith further said that despite a detailed report by the committee it is unclear how the environment will be damaged by the oil explorations in the Kavango swamps as it was raised by several communities, but which the standing committee has concluded to be unfounded during its oversight visits.
He explained that only after RECON oil exploration ends or when nothing is found will the true damage be assessed. Smith said this given that no scientific report by scientists has been made available in the report.
Subsequently, he is calling on the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform to get their act together, to start consulting before issuing drilling licenses to investors since it is a basic requirement in a country like Namibia.
He applauded the standing committee on a job well done and urges other standing committees to follow the example.