Windhoek – Entering the fishing sector that was predominantly penetrated by foreign investors for the first time in 2011, was no walk in the park for a previously disadvantaged Namibian, Nico Kaiyamo.
“We were given fishing quotas for horse mackerel. When we entered the industry in 2011 we wanted to give meaning to Namibianisation,” said Kaiyamo, the chairperson of Cavema Fishing, an established Namibian fishing company, operating in the pelagic fishing.
Namibianisation refers to the measures undertaken through the fisheries policy of Namibia, which is aimed at securing or increasing the benefits of Namibia, especially through onshore development, according to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources policy statement for granting of rights to harvest marine resources.
Kaiyamo explained that the company was created as a joint venture between two Namibian fishing quota holders, Camoposatu Investment and Vernier Investment, in an effort to optimise efficiencies and fishing capacity through the pooling of quota resources.
“For new entrants it was not easy to find our feet on the ground because we were not having experience and we were competing against already established companies,” shared Kaiyamo.
In the first year of entering that unfamiliar territory, Kaiyamo and his partners had to work with people who were already in the industry.
“We partnered with Russians in the first year and we acquired our own vessel,” a proud Kaiyamo stated.
Seven years later, the sailing is much smoother compared to the early years, admits Kaiyamo.
“Today we are a proud owner of a vessel,” stressed Kaiyamo. Namibians are more advantaged now compared to the past to join the fishing sector and create jobs to assist government with job creation, Kaiyamo believes.
Despite this opportunity, however, there are some Namibians who continue to opt for the easy way out by selling their fishing quotas for “easy money”.
“It is not a secret that Namibians are selling their quotas to foreigners for easy money. They are not adding value and they are not creating jobs. Some people are taking the easy way out,” a disappointed Kaiyamo said.
He said that lack of experience cannot be an excuse for selling quotas for “quick money”.
“We have the responsibility to assist government in alleviating poverty. Government needs to build schools and we need to come to the table,” added Kaiyamo.
Cavema says it has thus far spent at least N$6 million in corporate social responsibilities and donated N$300 000 to the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, and N$40 000 towards a school and clinic for the San people. It has also donated towards education including the electrification of a school in Oshikoto Region, which mainly caters for San children.
At the end of December, the government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will review some of the right holders when the current rights expire.
“I hope that the ministry will reward those who meet the criteria and punish those who don’t,” added Kaiyamo. Nevertheless, it is not all doom and gloom as some right holders are doing fairly well, Kaiyamo noted.
“We appreciate the opportunity granted to us by the Namibian Government for allowing previously disadvantaged Namibians to enter the fishing sector,” said Kaiyamo.
Meanwhile, another quota holder who is also previously disadvantaged Namibian said the shareholding is limited to foreigners.
Also, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources should look at how to attach strict conditions to fishing rights.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources should also look at how to contribute towards the development of previously disadvantaged Namibians. Fishing rights should be rotated so that other Namibians can benefit.
“Currently fishing rights is in the hands of a few individuals,” said the source. There are different timeliness for rotating fishing rights.
“The Ministry is updating their criteria so maybe they will improve on some of the shortcomings,” said the source.
More Namibians should benefit from the fishing sector, the source opined.
While priority is given to Namibians and Namibian businesses for granting of rights and allocation of quotas are concerned, scope is provided for foreign investment through joint ventures or wholly owned foreign ventures, according to the same document.
Also, foreign investors who would like to participate in fishing ventures are expected to cooperate with Namibian businesses through joint ventures.
However, in exceptional cases rights may be granted to wholly foreign owned ventures, where the foreign investment can be shown to contribute to economic and overall development in Namibia, where there is an appropriate plan for Namibianisation of the business. Applications by new joint ventures should be based on the expectation that rights will be granted to the Namibian participants in the venture.
For existing joint ventures, priority will be given to applications from the Namibian partners, considering the level of ownership and control of the Namibian interests.
Rights may also be granted to the existing joint venture right holders rather than to the Namibian partners, with the agreement of the Namibian, where it can be shown that the joint venture business and Namibia will benefit.