Govt, Hyphen still ‘far apart’ on green hydrogen pact

Ogone Tlhage
National Planning Commission (NPC) director-general Obeth Kandjoze says government is still far from agreeing to the terms of a green hydrogen deal with German suitor Hyphen Hydrogen Energies.

Instead, the Hydrogen Commission - which he chairs - is working hard to ensure Namibia gets the best deal out of its resources.

He made the comments during an interview on The Agenda last week, providing an update on what was happening behind the scenes regarding the deal.

Government had not been 'duped' into agreeing to unfavourable terms, he said.

“I would like to believe by now if we were being outwitted, you would have seen the papers riddled with an agreement. That agreement is still pending; it has not been signed based on serious, complicated provisions, and the parties are still far apart,” he said.

Hard at work

The commission meets every second Wednesday, he said, adding that it is crafting policy around green hydrogen. When done, this will be presented to Cabinet, he added.

“The argument that that we are being outwitted is a far cry from the truth. Every second Wednesday, we have a green hydrogen meeting where we have thorough briefings.”

Kandjoze also denied allegations that Namibia weakened its laws to accommodate Hyphen.

“It is impossible for a sovereign state to forego its right to change the law,” he said.

Government’s efforts to negotiate a good deal was further evidenced by a decision not to announce whom it would select as its preferred bidder last month at the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), he said.

Delayed announcement

“COP27 was a date where we undertook as a government, we want to announce. We had to climb down from that because it could just not materialise,” Kandjoze said.

There was still much to learn as the commission readies a document for Cabinet submission, he added.

“The subject matter itself, it is unknown. It is an emerging industry; there is care and consideration to be applied to exactly what goes in a 150-page document.

“We are still huddled in the negotiation corridors.”