Andrew Kathindi

Public Enterprise Minister Leon Jooste has no plans to close the doors on Fishcor after the Fisheries and Finance Ministers vowed to forge ahead with auctioning off quotas it previously allocated to Fishcor.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi announced that government only managed to get a paltry $8.4 million from an initial N$627.9 million worth of bids for its fishing quotas. This however has not deterred the Fisheries and Finance Ministry as they will forge ahead with a new round of auctions.

“I believe that there are various options available to continue with the operations of Fishcor and we look forward to engaging the Temporary Board very soon to explore those options and agree on the way forward. The current situation at the company is extremely delicate and a systematic, calculated approach is vital. I have no reason to consider liquidating Fishcor at this point in time,” Jooste told Windhoek Observer.

He further added, “Fishcor has been classified as a Commercial Public Enterprise and is expected to be commercially viable as a player within the sector. The Temporary Board of Directors has been tasked to develop a strategy to sustain commercial viability.”

Finance Minister said that despite the low outcome of the previous round of auctions, the government will not relinquish its governmental objective quotas back to Fishcor. Shiimi announced that the next round of Government Objective Fish Quota auctions for the next season for Hake and Horse Mackerel will be in November 2020 and January 2021.

“Some Namibians are suggesting that, given the outcome of the 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.

Shiimi said that funds generated from natural resources such as from the government’s quota, are needed to support the socio-economic objectives of the country such as the provision of serviced land, housing, health, education, among others.

Temporary Board Chairman for Fishcor Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II said that Fishcor has applied for additional quotas for the 2020/2021 period.

“Towards that end as the designate rights holder, The Board of Fishcor has submitted for possible consideration of an allocation of quotas for the 2020/2021 fishing period which we hope we expect a favorable response as we are tirelessly turning around the strategic, operational and commercial position of Fishcor and such an allocation can assist the Corporation to ensure its stable and sustainable path that the Board is seized on addressing the financial status of Fishcor with utmost priority on safeguarding employment of its subsidiaries for the foreseeable future ahead.”

Gaomab II said the Temporary Board is committed to the goal of the governmental quota auction “in light of the fact that it aims at the public interest of the allocation of the harvesting and proceeds of sale of our marine resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic which we are sympathetic of with a humane understanding.”

This comes as the board has taken a step to rebrand the company in an effort to rescue it from its tainted past.

Fishcor is believed to have been used as a conduit to illegally funnel millions out of the fishing industry.

This was allegedly done by its accused former Board Chairman and CEO, James Hatuikulipi and Mike Nghipunya in a web that is believed to be wide-reaching.

Former Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau and Justice Minister Sacky Shangala are also implicated and on trial in the case.