Prospective right holders get a helping hand

WALVIS BAY

06 July 2018 | Business

Erongo Marine Enterprises is assisting underprivileged and marginalised communities to exercise their right to apply for fishing rights.

This action resulted from the public outcry following the effort by the ministry of fisheries and marine resources to inform Namibians on the rights application process. One of the biggest stumbling blocks raised at these meetings was the compulsory requirement to submit rights applications as a proprietary limited company instead of a close corporation, as was the case in the past. This new regulation is aimed at increased transparency in the operations of fishing companies and also to ensure that vulnerable communities included in fishing right applications are protected and not side-lined when it comes to dividend pay-outs.

Erongo Marine Enterprises partnered with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa), responsible for the registration of companies, as well as legal entities to facilitate the process of company registrations on regional levels.

Erongo Marine Enterprises managing director Dr Martha Uumati said that so far only the elite and middle class have approached the company for support as a technical partner. Empowering only the elites and the middle class will widen the wealth gap, thus the rights application should be inclusive to accommodate all Namibians.

The stumbling blocks to apply for a fishing right remain a reality. Firstly, access to finance to register a proprietary limited company and secondly, the access to knowledge and expertise required for the entire process of rights applications that include partnering with technical experts.

Bipa acting chief executive officer Selma Ambunda said that marginalised communities are often excluded when it comes to such national opportunities.

Erongo Marine will extend its offer for financial assistance to prospective rights applicants who have already started the process of application, but are hampered by financial constraints only. These applicants will only be considered if they fully comply with government’s agenda of broad-based economic empowerment incorporating the targeted groups as outlined by the minister including youth, women, disabled persons, war veterans, and marginalised communities.

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