Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhardt Esau says that research and surveillance of the country’s fish stocks will still be carried out despite the ministry’s budget being cut by 42 percent for 2017/2018.
Esau, who said the ministry cannot compromise the county’s third largest economic contributor, especially when it comes to the seven main quota fish species, was addressing staff of the ministry in Swakopmund yesterday.
Research and monitoring is one of the crucial aspects of the fishing industry and thus the ministry will have to stretch the budget not to compromise it. Data collected from research activities are used as a guideline to set the total allowable catches (TACs) of Namibia’s fishery resource.
“Last year our budget was cut by 10 percent, which was about N$29 million. This next financial year will be very challenging as we have to do with way less than what we received the previous financial year,” he said.
He added that the ministry will sit down and see how they will use the allocated funds for monitoring and research, as well as look at other important activities after the budget is made official.
“Compromising in terms of research and monitoring is not an option although it will be challenging when we sit down and see how best we can address it. However, our vessels will be patrolling and safeguarding our natural resources. We will see how we can get funding,” Esau said.
The budget cuts will also mean that several of the ministry’s scheduled activities will not be undertaken but Esau urged staff members not to be deterred and to fulfil their mandate.
“It’s going to be very challenging but it is part of the government objective to reduce expenditure. That is why I am urging you to work smart and minimize wastage. Rather use our own facilities for conferences and meetings. Use one vehicle if you all are going to the same meeting or function. Also utilise electronic facilities such as skype and email to cut the cost of travelling.”
“We have to do more with less as the budget cuts require that we re-prioritize all our activities and focus mainly on those that produce tangible results,” he appealed.