NAMIBIA – The government of Namibia has raised N$627.9 million (US$42.16m) from the auction of its fishing quota to both international and local companies, with the financing to be channelled to procure the required resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount was announced by minister of finance Lipumbu Shiimi, who said it is twice more than the N$315 million (US$21.15m) the government could have raised if fish quotas were sold at reserved prices, reports the Namibian.

“The total amount raised from the auction amounts to N$ 627,936,827.10 (US$42.16m) including the application fees. This is equivalent to 100 percent more when compared to N$315,366,400 (US$21.15m) which could have been raised if the governmental fishing quota was sold at the reserved prices.

“As a result, it has now been proven beyond doubt that the government was right to take a decision to test the market in order to establish the true value of its fisheries resources,” Shiimi said.

Auctioned were 11000 metric tons (MT) of Hake, of which 40 percent (4,400MT) were reserved exclusively for Namibian registered companies and 60 percent (6,600 MT) for open bidding to both local and international companies, at the reserved price of N$7,700 (US$517) per metric ton.

For Horse Mackerel, 72,000 metric tons were on offer, with 40 percent (28,800 MT) reserved exclusively for Namibian registered companies, while 60 percent (43,200 MT) was for open bidding to both Namibian registered companies and international companies at the reserved price of N$ 3,500 (US$235) per metric ton.

Three hundred and ninety-two metric tons (MT) of Monk was also on offer, with 100 percent (392 MT) of the quota open for bidding to both Namibian registered companies and International companies, at the reserved price of N$ 7,700 (US$527) per metric ton.

According to the reports, applications for the Namibian resource were received from 111 companies – 47 for the hake quota, 59 for horse mackerel and 5 for monk.

Out of the 111 applications, only 33 made the cut and were allocated quotas.

Horse mackerel is expected to bring in the most money at N$457.7 million (US$30.7m), followed by hake at N$164.6 million (US$11.05m), and monk at N$5.4 million (US$362,600).

The lowest bid was N$500 per tonne and the highest N$19, 036 (US$1,278).

Shiimi did not mention who the successful bidders were, but it is understood the Ministry of Finance was in the process of contacting successful bidders and their names would be revealed in due course.

Motivating the auction, Shiimi said the marine resources law gives the government the authority to exploit the resource, and that this particular auction was to generate income for Covid-19-related expenses, among others.

He said funds will go straight to treasury to be spent through the national budget, and the auditor general will verify the legitimacy thereof.

“We are confident it [the funds raised] will go a long way in funding government priority programmes such as improving sanitation, hostel facilities and other expenses exacerbated by Covid-19,” Shiimi said.

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