By Hilary Mare
NEW Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, has laid down his envisaged goals if the mining and energy sectors are to continue contributing significantly to national development and growth objectives.
Speaking about the way forward with regards to the mandate of his Ministry which in recent months has been marred with controversy, Alweendo highlighted that it is one thing to be endowed with mineral wealth and it is certainly another thing to ensure that such minerals are fully and sustainably exploited to benefit the country.
“We can benefit from our mineral endowments only when we are able to attract the needed investment capital. It is the case that mining is one of the sectors where the required capital investment is so high. That being the case – the needed capital being so high – it is necessary for us to be able to tap into the global capital,” he said.
He went on elaborate that in order for Namibia to attract global capital into the mining sector, it is necessary to continue to improve competitiveness as an investment destination.
“We are competing with other jurisdictions that are tapping into the same global capital market. It is for this reason that we will continue to review our policy framework to ensure that we have the right regulatory framework that is able to attract the necessary investment capital,” he added.
The 2017 Fraser Institute annual mining survey placed Namibia 54th – from 53 in the previous survey – out of 91 jurisdictions.
“While surveys like the Fraser Institute are not necessarily sacrosanct, they are useful indicators of what might need to be reviewed. It is good to note that a process has been underway to review our mining legal and regulatory framework. We need to speed up the review process to ensure that our legal and regulatory frameworks do not become a disincentive in attracting the needed capital”.
With regards to energy, Alweendo reiterated that knowing that Namibia generates only 40 percent of current demand, this is not a tenable situation and government needs to do more, and rather quickly, to increase generation capacity.
“In my engagement with the relevant stakeholders, the message I got is that we need to do more in embracing private sector capital investment in the generation of electricity. There is also an urgent need to look at the electricity market structure,” stated the Minister.
Address industry perceptions, he added that an area that needed increased attention is that of good governance when it comes to the management of mineral resources.
“There is a growing public perception that suggests that we are not managing our mineral resources in a transparent manner; it is believed that mineral licenses are managed in a corrupt manner. Corruption or the perception thereof cannot and should not be tolerated by all of us. It is something that can be eradicated only when all of us decide not to accept it”.
He went on to say: “One sure way of fighting corruption is to be more transparent in what we do. It is our commitment to make sure that all our processes and procedures are transparent and that they are publicly available. The public must know why they need to apply for mineral licenses; they must know how to apply and what information is required; they must know what criteria do we use in granting or declining an application for a mineral license; they must know what is expected of them once a license is granted to them; throughout the process they must know when to expect feedback on their applications. If and when we do all these, I am certain that we would have addressed the public’s concerns about corruption in with mineral licensing processes”.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015