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By: Andrew Kathindi

The newly appointed chief executive officer of Fishcor, Alex Gawanab, says that he will engage the government when he commences his duties in January to regain the company’s lost governmental objective quotas.
Fishcor lost the governmental objectives fishing quotas in 2020 after the government announced that it would be auctioning off the same fishing quotas to raise funds to aid its COVID-19 response.

“Fishcor is a government-owned public enterprise. Certainly, through prudent engagement and demonstrating to the ministry that we are here and we mean business and want to do things right, that engagement will emanate in an amicable outcome,” he told The Villager.
“I can’t pre-empt where it’s going to go, but certainly, it will be very intense discussions and negotiations with the relevant ministry so that we can stay in business.”

Gawanab said that a number of workers would need the security of their jobs, and the beleaguered company’s governmental objectives will be part of his plan to achieve this.
In September, the government made N$ 85.7 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after selling off 27 300 metric tons of horse mackerel from its governmental objective quotas.
Finance Minister Iipimbu Shiimi last year stated that government would consider auctioning off all its governmental objectives despite making only a paltry N$8.4 million from bids initially calculated to be worth N$627.9 million.
In January last year, the company received 25 000 metric tonne horse mackerel quotas from then acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana after reporting that it could not pay salaries or pay its other operations.
This year, Fishcor got 80 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel quotas in February.
“If you understand the Fishcor Act and public enterprises governance, you will know the intention of Fischcor is, and we just need to focus on its intentions and get the right resources allocated for it to thrive again,” said Gawanab, who vacates his position as senior project manager for business transformation at Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb.
He further said that he would try not to focus on the upcoming fishrot. His predecessor, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, is embroiled with the former board chair, James Hatuikulipi, for money laundering. Nghipunya’s application for bail is before the high court, and the matter has been postponed to January.
“I would like to disassociate the new company that I will lead away from the past. I wouldn’t even want to discuss fishrot that is sub judicae. It’s a matter in court. My task is to steer this ship to steady grounds,” he told The Villager.
“What will happen in the background will happen. The courts will take the court, and the legal process will unfold. I wouldn’t want to get involved. My task is very clear. It’s to get operations going, restore confidence in the fishing industry, get our company back to where it used to be. I can’t be detracted from that mission. I will steer away as far as possible from the legal process, although you can’t ignore them. They will be there in the background.”
A statement released by Fishcor’s board said the Gawanab’s “broad set of academic qualifications, complemented by the extensive corporate and leadership experience which he gathered over 26 years in the mining, and water utility sectors, starting with Namdeb, Namwater, Debmarine Namibia and NamGem and Swakop Uranium (Husab) Mine, where he managed the metallurgical operations, diamond cutting and polishing, water extraction and supply and business improvement functions, among other portfolios, places him in a very strong stead to steer the Fishcor ship over the coming years.”

Julia Heita

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