From Cabinet Chambers

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CABINET took the following decisions at the 25th ordinary meeting of the 4th Government held on 29 November 2005. 1. Revised National Youth Policy: Cabinet discussed and approved the revised National Youth Policy of Namibia. The review of the 1993 National Youth Policy was necessitated by the review and formulation of Namibia’s First and Second Development Plans, as well as the formulation of Vision 2030. The revised policy deals among others with the following: – Definition of youth; – Contemporary youth challenges; – Education and Training; – Employment; – Globalisation; – Information and communication technology; – Gender; – Human Rights and Social Justice; – Goals and Policy Objectives; – Rights and Obligations; – Key strategic areas; and, – Policy implementation mechanisms. The goals of the policy are threefold, namely to empower the youth; to foster proper up-bringing of young women and men to become responsible citizens; and to enable young men and women to initiate actions to promote their own development and that of their communities and broader society. The six policy objectives are: – To recognise and develop a sense of self-esteem, potential and aspiration among young men and women in Namibia; – To provide special services and support to the youth that have been disadvantaged due to family situations, gender, disability and poor representation; – To provide guiding principles for all governmental and non-governmental agencies consistent with the above-stated values; – To mobilise the Namibian youth in urgent tasks of national reconstruction and development; – To expand and improve youth access to education and training opportunities in all fields and at all levels; – To provide opportunities for the youth to develop relevant life and work skills to help them to become responsible and self-reliant members of the community. 2. Namibia’s Strategy and Negotiating Position in Preparation for the 6th Session of The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, 13 to 18 December 2005: Cabinet noted the dynamic nature of negotiations and constant shifting of positions among various WTO members and constituencies and also noted the state of play of negotiations in the context of Namibia’s preparations for the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference. Cabinet approved Namibia’s positions and strategy and also approved the Namibian delegation to the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. Following the Uruguay Round and the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995, five major Ministerial meetings took place to assess the progress made on implementing the Uruguay Round commitments. The 4th Ministerial Conference held in Doha resulted in an agreement to launch negotiations on a wide range of issues, dubbed the Doha Development Agenda in recognition of the WTO commitment to economic growth and reduction of poverty in developing and least developed countries. The Doha Development Agenda gave WTO members a mandate to launch negotiations. The Doha Development Agenda includes the following for negotiations: – Non-Agriculture Market Access; – Rules (Anti-dumping, subsidies and regional trade agreements); – Agriculture; – Services; – TRIPS issues; – Geographical indications; – Dispute settlement understanding; – Environment; and, – Implementation issues. The subject of trade facilitation was also added to the negotiation agenda. Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industry will lead the delegation to the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Hong Kong and he will be accompanied by the Minister or Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, three technical officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and one senior technical official each from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and that of the Ministry of Finance. 3. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Comprising Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein: Cabinet noted the progress of the FTA negotiations between the SACU and EFTA and authorised the Minister of Trade and Industry to sign the Agreement on behalf of the Namibian Government during the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference that will take place in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December 2005. The FTA negotiations between the two parties commenced in 2003 and six rounds of negotiations took place with South Africa representing SACU and Norway representing the EFTA. The negotiations dealt with several trade and trade-related issues and the final outcome of the negotiations is for a FTA on trade in industrial goods and agricultural products. The agreement provides for territorial application, permitting the Kingdom of Norway to exempt the territory of Svalbard (territorial islands in the North Sea) from the application of the agreement, except for trade in goods. With regard to agriculture, the parties agreed that SACU members enter into individual Agricultural Agreements with the individual EFTA states. On Processed Agricultural Products (PAPs), the parties concluded that duties levied on these products shall be based on, but not exceed, the differences between the domestic price and the world market price of the agricultural raw materials incorporated into the products identified as PAPs, mainly to counterfeit any unfair competition that might occur due to some subsidised products. EFTA has offered duty free entry for all SACU industrial products into their markets from the day that the Agreement comes into force, while EFTA will enjoy the same treatment given to the EU by South Africa under the SA-EU Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) for products of footwear and leather, automotive, textile and clothing and tyres categories. With regard to fish and marine products, special provision was made for Namibia in terms of the rules of origin to include the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), since most species are caught beyond territorial waters in the 200 nautical miles. For other SACU states the definition excludes the EEZ. The Agreement also includes Rules of Origin; Mutual Administrative Cooperation and Custom Matters; and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues. 4. SADC Consultative Conference, 26 – 27 April 2006, Namibia: Cabinet noted the decision of the SADC Council for Namibia to host the 2006 Consultative Conference and authorised the Ministry of Trade and Industry to proceed with the preparations. Cabinet 25th 2005 Ref: 13/6/26 Cabinet also granted permission to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to establish a National Organising Committee that will be responsible for the organisation and coordination of the event. The theme of the 2006 SADC Consultative Conference is ‘Partnership for the Implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO)”. The SADC Consultative Conference is a bi-annual event between SADC and its international co-operating partners to secure financial and technical support for the implementation of regional programmes and projects. Due to the restructuring of the organisation, the last consultative conference took place in 2002. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Trade and Industry at telephone number 2837111. 5. Disposal of the Fisheries Patrol Vessel PV Tobias Hainyeko: Cabinet approved the disposal of the fisheries patrol vessel PV Tobias Hainyeko. The Government built up a fleet of three fisheries patrol vessels since independence to protect the country’s marine resources against illegal fishing. The PV Tobias Hainyeko was acquired through a grant from DANIDA in Denmark in 1993. The vessel was built in 1979 and is already 25 years old. A number of problems were identified on the vessel when it was taken for its annual dry-docking maintenance in March 2005. Apart from the deteriorating body, maintenance costs went up drastically since 2000/2001. Experts who inspected the boat in 2005 identified excessive damage on the hull/body of the vessel and declared it unsuitable for surveillance. The scrap value of the vessel is estimated at N$750 000. 6. African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) Steering Committee Meeting: Cabinet granted permission to the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to host the AMCOW Steering Committee Meeting in Windhoek from 8 to 9 December to prepare Africa’s input to the fourth World Water Forum, scheduled to take place in Mexico in March 2006. Africa has always been promoting unity, but not much was done on hydro-solidarity due to the lack of a platform and African Ministers responsible for water therefore agreed in Abuja, Nigeria in April 2002 to establish the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW). AMCOW has since been spearheading Africa’s agenda on water. At its Executive meeting held in Addis Ababa in July 2005 2005, Ministers decided that a Technical Committee and a Steering Committee must be established to prepare Africa’s input to the fourth World Water Forum. The Technical Committee, chaired by the African Development Bank already met in Tunis, Tunisia in October 2005 to prepare the technical documents for the Steering Committee. Since Namibia was nominated to chair the Steering Committee, it was proposed that its meeting take place in Windhoek from 8 to 9 December 2005. It is expected that the five AMCOW sub-regional Chairpersons, namely the Minister of Lesotho for Southern Africa, the Minister of Senegal for Western Africa, the Minister of Ethiopia for Eastern Africa, the Minister of the Central African Republic for Central Africa and the Minister of Egypt for Northern Africa will attend the Steering Committee Meeting. Technical advisors will include among others representatives from the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the EU Water Initiative representative. 7.Implementation of a Mass Distance Charging System for Namibian-Registered Motor Vehicles and Foreign-registered Vehicles from 1 April 2006: Cabinet noted the dire financial situation of the Road Fund Administration and approved the implementation of the Mass Distance Charging System from 1 April 2006. Cabinet also directed the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication to undertake a detailed study with a view to draft a national policy and approach to toll roads and to establish how toll roads will complement the current road user charging system. The Road Fund Administration was established by an Act of Parliament in 1999 to manage Namibia’s road user charge system and to secure a safe and efficient road sector in Namibia. According to the Road Fund Administration Act, 1999 (ACT 18 of 1999), the road user charge system includes registration and license fees, fuel levies on diesel and petrol, mass-distance charges, abnormal load permit fees and cross-border traffic fees on foreign vehicles. To date,mass-distance charges as provided for the in Act have not yet been implemented, while only the entry-fee portion for foreign-registered vehicles had been implemented. To treat foreign and local vehicles equitably in compliance with the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology, the transit fee portion of cross-border charges can only be implemented together with the implementation of mass-distance charges on Namibian-registered vehicles. A pre-feasibility study on tolling of the Windhoek-Okahandja road was already done for the Roads Contractor Company. Road tolling as a means of financing the national road network involves aspects of policy and principles of the current legal and policy environment. A national policy on and approach to road tolling and how it can complement the current road user charging (tolling) system needs to be developed and submitted to Cabinet. The Act provides for the implementation of a Mass Distance Charging system (MDCs) by notice in the Government Gazette. Initially, MDC will be imposed based only on mass and distance travelled while further modalities are being worked out. 8.Bilateral Cooperation between the Governments of the Republic of Namibia and the People’s Republic of China: Cabinet endorsed the agreed minutes of discussions between the Director General of the National Planning Commission and the Vice Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China held on 17 November 2005 and gave its approval to the memorandum on the One Package Cooperation Mode between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the People’s Republic of China. Cabinet also appointed the National Planning Commission as the point of contact for negotiation and implementation of the One Package Cooperation Mode. A delegation of the Communist Party of China visited Namibia from 15 to 18 November 2005 and during this visit, discussions took place between the Director General of the National Planning Commission and China’s Vice Minister of Commerce. The discussions focused on five areas of cooperation, being in the mining and energy sectors, agriculture, education and training, industry and fishing. The agreed minutes of the discussions were signed and will serve as the basis for future negotiations. The two parties agreed to negotiate the detail of the One Package Cooperation Mode at a later stage and the Chinese delegation agreed to submit a draft agreement text for consideration to the Namibian Government. 9. Annual Reports of: -The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication for the Financial Year 2003/2004: – Agribank of Namibia 2004: Cabinet granted permission to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication and the Minister of Finance respectively to table the above-mentioned two annual reports in the National Assembly. 10. Report of the Auditor general on the accounts of the: – Office of the President for the financial year ended 31 March 2004; – Office of the Prime Minister for the financial year ended 31 March 2004; – Office of the Attorney General or the financial year ended 31 March 2004; – Office of the Auditor General for the financial year ended 31 March 2004; – Regional Council of the Omusati Region for the financial year ended 31 March 1998 and 1999; – Municipality of Gobabis for the financial year ended 30 June 2004; – Minerals development fund for the financial year ended 31 March 2004: Cabinet granted permission to the Minister of Finance to table the above-mentioned reports in the National Assem-bly.

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