Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Namibian fishing entities are making massive strides in the fishing sector with more companies and stakeholders investing in much-needed assets, such as vessels and land-based facilities.
Articnam Fishing, Sinco Fishing and their partners last week positively responded to the continued call by Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, for the Namibianisation of the fishing industry when they launched the Heinaste fishing vessel at Walvis Bay.
The Islandic-owned vessel was previously foreign-flagged and cost Articnam and its partners a substantial amount of money in terms of levies and other costs to the government.
The vessel is 11 metres long and 20 metres wide and is currently one of the biggest vessels in Namibian waters. The vessel is valued N$280 million. The Namibian investment is N$140 million, which was 100 percent financed by the Islandic shareholders with the company systematically settling the outstanding fee on the vessel. They now owe less than N$5 million, which is expected to be settled by the end of this year. These costs are now expected to decrease following the full takeover that makes it 100 percent Namibian owned.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders during the official ceremony, Virgilio de Sousa said acquiring a fishing vessel was borne from the need to pave way for further value addition of Namibian products. He added that it was essential to capitalise on the incentives and the conducive environment government creates to pave way for Namibianisation.
“We have also reduced our levies and fees through the Namibianisation of the Heinaste vessel. Our focus over the last six years was the acquisition of the vessel and solidifying our position in the market,” he explained. He added that individual right holding companies have been experimenting and doing research on various value-added products.
Also speaking at the same occasion, Esau stressed the importance of Namibianisation, as the process not only increases return on investment but also creates more jobs and adds more value to Namibian products.
“We don’t want you to own 50 percent of a vessel or company; we want to see you move to full ownership. That is what we mean by Namibianisation,” Esau said.