Fishing resource must contribute to shared prosperity

The minster of fisheries and marine resources says that his mandate is to ensure shared prosperity of the marine resources in the country.

23 February 2021 | Supplements

“Government should generate enough financial resources to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and under development. Marine resources should play a positive role in ensuring quality education, healthcare, decent housing aimed at addressing challenges of informal settlements, quality infrastructure and access to portable water for all Namibians,” Dr Albert Kawana told the fishing industry in his inaugural speech as minister of fisheries and marine resources.

At the same time Kawana called for regular consultations on issues of mutual interest and pledged to coordinate and consult widely on various development issues.

The minister listed the local procurement of goods, services, employment promotion, training with special emphasis to sea going personnel, value addition, timely allocation of fishing quotas, the issue of foreign vessels, illegal fishing, experimental rights, and the new score card which include aspects such as permanent employment, as issues that will continue to be addressed.

The provision of decent housing, promotion policy, employee pension, gender policy in the fisheries sector, corporate social responsibility, channels of communication between the industry and the ministry, demarcation of fishing grounds between wet and freezer, and receiving proposals from the industry as to how to take the sector to higher heights, were also listed as priorities.

“In order to have minimum impact, I proposed a programme which includes meeting separately with members of the Namibian Hake Association, Midwater Trawling Association of Namibia, the Namibian Monk and Sole Association, and the workers through their union leaders to discuss subsector issues,” the minister said.

‘Critical role’

The minister said that it is an established fact that marine resources play a critical role in achieving sustainable development, economic growth and the livelihoods of the nation says

According to the minister, this objective can only be achieved if there is proper coordination at all levels.

“This means that government, the private sector and labour industry must come together and coordinate their activities for the benefit of the nation.”

Kawana emphasised that that Articles 95 (1) and 100 of the constitution as well as Section 3 of the Marine Resources Act of 2000 as amended, make it clear that the natural resources of the country belong to the State for the benefit of the current and future generations.

“It is clear that these resources should not only benefit a few individuals, but all Namibians. Those who are entrusted in the management of these natural resources thus have an obligation to make sure that the broader Namibian nation benefits from their natural resources. When it comes to the marine resources, all stakeholders have a duty to make sure that this objective is achieved.”

Inclusion

The minister condemned the practise of exclusion, saying this spells conflict.

“It is a fact that tribalism, ethnicity, racism, sexism and all other ‘isms’ are products of exclusion. Inclusion spells harmony. Especially in Africa we have witnessed expressions such as ‘It is our time to eat’. People expect to benefit through tribal connections. This approach is dangerous and leads to conflict. To avoid this, we should adopt the concept of shared prosperity. This concept will result in balanced economic development for all regions of the country.”

Kawana emphasised that it is against this background that the marine resources of the country should not only benefit those who are employed in the sector, those who have fishing rights and those companies that operate in the sector.

“It should benefit the Namibian nation as a whole and we can only achieve this objective if we address the negative mentality of entitlement which gives rise to exclusion.”

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