By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba has requested the Government of Singapore to consider establishing a fish feed plant in Namibia. The request comes in realization that Namibia, which currently produces more than 100 000 tons of quality fishmeal annually, has to export raw material for value addition elsewhere in the world before the finished fish feed re-enters the country. This, the President says, will also help in the creation of jobs, provide needed skills to the people and improve living conditions. Pohamba expressed gratitude towards Singapore for accepting Namibia’s request to export shellfish products to that country. As a result of this approval by the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the President says there has been major investment in Namibia’s mariculture industry for the past 12 months, particularly in oyster and abalone species. The main market for these products is Singapore. Ministers of fisheries for both Namibia and Singapore will be instructed to continue cooperation in these areas, Pohamba added. Pohamba further called for the speedy conclusion of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and to secure the signing of the Air Services Agreement between the two countries. Pohamba also poured out his gratitude to the Singaporean Government for assisting Namibia in setting up a productivity centre. The centre, according to the President, will equip Namibians in relevant sectors with the skills and competencies that will positively impact on socio-economic development. “I specifically would like to thank the Singapore Government for training many Namibians in various technical areas such as financial management, city planning, human resources and environment, customs and excise, hospitality and hotel management, information communication technology and aviation…” said the President. He added that the strong relations between the two countries provide a sound basis for the business communities and thus Pohamba urged both the Singaporean business delegates and the Namibian private sector to identify opportunities available for investment and trade for the mutual benefit of the two peoples. “We believe that the private sector is the engine for economic growth. Thus government efforts are geared towards creating a conducive environment for investment and economic growth,” he said. Pohamba also called on Singapore to consider importing Namibian meat products, salt, beer and other goods. The President made these requests during the official talks with the President of Singapore Sellapan Ramanathan. Ramanathan equally thanked the Namibian Government for being a loyal friend to his country. Responding to Pohamba’s requests, the Singaporean President wished he had known which areas would be of Namibian interest in order to bring along the relevant authorities. Nevertheless, he also mentioned that his government does not invest in projects abroad but rather makes such ventures available to those with the capacity. However, he assured that he would take the requests to the relevant offices in his country. Ramanathan arrived yesterday for a four-day State visit. He arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport yesterday morning accompanied by the First Lady of Singapore Urmila Ramanathan and business officials. President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Namibian First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Foreign Affairs Minister Marco Hausiku welcomed the President before he proceeded to the saluting dais, which was immediately followed by the 21-gun salute with the Singaporean and Namibian national anthems being performed. Cultural performances of Owambo, Caprivi, Tswana and Nama songs and dances entertained the President just after he inspected the guard of honour, a march past, and his greeting members of the diplomatic corps who were also at the airport to welcome him. President Ramanathan held official talks with Pohamba, after which he laid a wreath at Heroes Acre. A State banquet was held last night in honour of the visiting president. Today he is scheduled to visit LLD Diamonds. Tomorrow, Ramanathan is expected to travel to Walvis Bay where he will visit Namport. The President and his delegation leave on Sunday for Botswana.
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