Namibia: DRC Has Till Month-End to Pay for Quota

27 September 2021

The acting executive director of finance, Francois Brand, has given the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) until 30 September to pay for the 27 300 tonnes of horse mackerel freezer governmental objective quota.

The quota is a leftover from the public auction undertaken in the third quarter of the year, which was not taken up by the local industry.

An invoice Brand sent to the embassy of the DRC, which has been seen by The Namibian, shows that the quota was sold for N$85 715 448.

"Payment of the outstanding amount should be made into the [state] bank account not later than 10h00 on 30 September," Brand said.

The invoice letter shows that a request to purchase the quota was made through the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation on 9 September.

Brand informed the embassy that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will issue them with the quota allocation upon submission of the notification award from his ministry, along with proof of payment.

It is not clear what would happen to the quota if the DRC fails to make the payment.

Minister of fisheries and marine resources Derek Klazen referred questions to the finance ministry.

"The Ministry of Finance is busy with them. They issued the directive," Klazen said.

Brand did not respond to questions sent to him.

In terms of the current legislation, the quota cannot be transferred to the next season should it not be caught in time, as this would have an impact on next year's total allowable catch.

The question of how the direct sale of a quota to the DRC was made has also been raised.

The sale lacked transparency or input from the Namibian fishing industry.

The direct sale of the quota was not advertised or made public, nor were its terms and conditions.

The government in 2020 introduced a public auction system intended to promote transparency around the process of quota allocation.

Klazen, however, said the quota sale to the DRC was indeed made public.

"It was an auction issue," he said.

Most industry players were cautious to buy additional governmental objective quota as some received their quotas at the beginning of the year.

With only three months of the current fishing season remaining, the risk was too high for the industry, as they are still trying to make up for lost time over the winter months when fishing was a challenge due to the weather conditions at sea.

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