Namibia to auction fishing quota to raise money for Covid-19 medicines

The Namibian government will for the first time auction its 60 percent share of the country’s annual fish output to the highest bidder by the end of October to raise funds for equipment and medicine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Reuters, an Aug. 7 letter written by the minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Albert Kawana, indicates that the government is in need of financial resources on an emergency basis with a view to mitigating the effects of Covid-19.

 

The government’s 60% quota is normally reserved for state-owned company Fishcor, which has been caught up in a corruption scandal. 

 

“We do not produce medicines in Namibia nor do we manufacture medical equipment. In order to obtain these items, we have to buy them with foreign currency,” Kawana said. 

 

Last month Namibia approached the International Monetary Fund for a 4.5 billion Namibian dollars ($254 million) emergency loan to help it fight Covid-19. 

According to the latest statistics released on Sunday, Namibia has seen a steady rise of new infections and has now reported 2,949 cases of Covid-19 and 19 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

Fishing is the third-biggest contributor to Namibia’s gross domestic product, after mining and agriculture, contributing around N$10 billion ($783 million) in foreign currency earnings annually.

The proposed auction of the government’s fishing quota would be the first of its kind in the country.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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