By Hilary Mare
MINISTER of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo has highlighted increase in investment in the mining sector, strengthening of the value chain management and ethical behaviour, as part of his ambitions for the mining sector of tomorrow.
Speaking at the Chamber of Mines Annual General Meeting last week, Alweendo highlighted that these are the three things that he will pay special attention to during his tenure as Minister of Mines and Energy.
“The first thing that I would like to see is an increase in investment in the mining sector. I am convinced that the mining sector can play an increased role in economic development when we discover more minerals. More employment can be created when we are able to open more mines. Socio-economic empowerment can be more assured when more and more people are employed in the sector.
“But for this to be realized a couple of things need to happen. Among the things that must happen is where we need to ensure that our mineral legislation is sufficiently attractive to inspire new investment. It is also important to make sure that our regulatory framework is clear and comprehensive in such a manner that investors are clear as to what is required of them. Additionally it is necessary that the legal framework in place is fully enforced in an even-handed manner. In this respect I am happy to note that the current Mining Act is under review and it is my undertaking that such review is expedited and that it be finalized before the end of this year,” he said.
Alwendo went on to highlight that the second ambition he has for the mining sector is the strengthening of the value chain management.
“It is a fact that the mining sector will play an even bigger role in our socio-economic development when we strengthen the value chain management in the sector. This can be done in two ways – namely to strengthen the local linkages between the mining companies and the local entrepreneurs with regards to the supply chain demand; and to add as much value as possible to the minerals that we are mining. If we were to succeed in doing that, we would have successfully integrated the mining sector with other sectors of the economy. This will build resilience in the local economy and will contribute to structural economic transformation,” explained Alweendo.
In his last element on his wish list, Alweendo said that the third area he will pay particular attention to is that of ethical behaviour in the mining sector highlighting that given the important role the mining sector plays in society, it is of critical importance that all of us in the sector behave in an ethical manner.
“It is important that we practice good governance; that we behave and act in a transparent manner. It cannot be acceptable for a Government employee to enforce the Mining Act in a corrupt manner. It should be an abomination for a mining company not to pay its taxes that are due to the Government.
“It should be condemned by all of us where a mining company carries out its operation not in accordance to the mining legislation. It cannot be an acceptable behaviour when employees of mining companies are not concerned about their productivity, or where mining companies provide poor working conditions to their employees. You will agree with me that Namibia will be the winner when both employers and employees strive to create a harmonious relationship in the workplace – the alternative is conflict where again Namibia will be the loser, said Alweendo.
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