Fishing companies should ‘sort out squabbles themselves’ - Klazen

Annual industry address

13 November 2021 | Fishing

Derek Klazen; Minister; “… resolve your personal issues …”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The fisheries minister Derek Klazen again called on right holders to handle their internal squabbles themselves and ensure that they empower their fellow Namibians.

“When you started with applications, you were all happy, drinking tea. Some drank whiskey together and things were good. But now that the money is rolling in, you are cutting out some of your partners. I talk about this every single time, but it does not stop.”

Klazen called on right holders do some introspection. “Do not throw the people you had with you from the beginning, away. You needed veterans, so you got veterans in. Resolve your personal issues, that is all I am asking. Be fair.”

According to the minister, an issue that remains a thorn in his flesh, is that of old fishing companies exploiting new ones. “I was forced to withhold quotas because right holders don’t agree amongst each other. By giving someone a bag of potatoes, is not what we mean by empowerment. I am asking again, deal with these matters yourself. Don’t involve the minister as it can become unpleasant. Do the right thing, pray to God to give you wisdom and guidance.”

According to the minister, people are also playing off BIPA against the ministry, since there are two Acts involved with the application of rights. “We are in the process of acquiring a legal opinion, but legally we use both acts. We are consulting the BIPA document as well to see if unfairness has started.”

Klazen emphasised that fisheries is a vulnerable industry and that quotas cannot be dished out like “vetkoek”. “We have a system on how we operate and we have our TAC per annum. It was tough for me to do the hake allocation. I tried my best to keep the status quo as far as possible,” Klazen told industry players.

In terms of the re-employment of former striking fishermen, the minister said that he cannot condone the fact that people are employed but then stay at home and get paid for doing so. “The quota was only enough for those who were unemployed and I thank the companies who came on board. But to add more employees, is not sustainable.”

The minister also emphasised that fishing right holders and quotas need to continue improving the standards of living of their fellow Namibians through a variety of methods. “This should not necessarily be limited to corporate social responsibility, but also through the making of meaningful investments, the creation of enterprises outside or in support of the fishing industry, and targeted procurement aimed at acquiring services from Namibians as stated in the Affirmative Action Act.”

Klazen reminded right holders that they are expected to pay taxes, levies and fees. “These fees are statutory obligations placed on all right holders and failure to comply with the law could lead to many adverse realities, including but not limited to the suspension of your right by the ministry.” Furthermore, the minister urged industry players to support his desire to improve the industry. “Your support and buy-in will ensure that we all benefit from this great opportunity of being a right holder and ensure that this resource continues to cater for jobs and economic livelihoods for many generations to come.”

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