By: Justicia Shipena
President Hage Geingob says that a few projects in Namibia have been compromised due to unfounded negative publicity.
Geingob said this while delivering his keynote address at the inauguration of the Debmarine mining vessel Benguela gem.
According to him, the government will never advocate for reckless disregard of due process, including environmental due diligence and compliance with international best practices.
“In my time as both Prime Minister and now as President of Namibia, I have sadly witnessed a few projects that have been compromised by often unfounded negative publicity,” he said.
Geingob said all that is needed in these projects is the science and empirical facts leading the evidence and not armchair critiques.
“My biggest drive, since becoming President, has been and will remain the attraction and expansion of domestic and foreign direct investment in a win-win manner, for the benefit of our citizens. This is what will lift our people from the shackles of poverty and inequality,” said Geingob.
He said the country needs the private sector to absorb young Namibians into training programmes and create job opportunities.
“This is what people yearn for more than anything else. When you provide job opportunities to people, you create a sense of pride and purpose for them. When people have pride and purpose, they will contribute to the well-being of their families and the country at large.”
Speaking on the mining industry, Geingob said the mining sector remains one of the significant contributors to GDP.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) says the sector has contributed an average of 10% of GDP since 1990.
“In fact, since 2012, the mining sector contribution increased with the addition of new mines that started operating, resulting in a contribution to GDP of 14% in 2018. The highest ever,” he said.
Thus he said he has confidence that the future of Namibia’s mining sector remains bright.
“This vessel will be deployed to recover diamonds from the seabed safely, with due regard to our fragile marine environment,” he expressed.
He further said the raw minerals that Namibia is blessed with belong to the people of Namibia.
“However, in a highly capital intensive and technologically advanced industry, few Namibians possess the means to exploit these minerals. This is why we court investors,” stated Geingob.
In this vein, he emphasised that contract with the people of Namibia, one must always use the best endeavours to ensure that it delivers value.
“It is the expressed wish of the Government that raw materials extracted from the Namibian soil and sea should also directly benefit, through economic shareholding, the communities in the areas from which the resources are derived.”
Thus Geingob said the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill (NEEEB) is in progress.
“Namibia has become the focal point of global attention over the past several months. The discovery of hydrocarbons suggesting that we may have commercial quantities of oil has attracted much attention to Namibia,” he said.
Geingob added that the Green Hydrogen had put Namibia firmly on the map as a desired destination for international investors.
“While these ventures will unlock tremendous economic opportunities for Namibia, they will not happen overnight. We need current and ongoing projects, like this new vessel, to help us through the transition until we bring these new ventures to reality,” he expressed.