Newcomer makes waves in fishing industryBy: JO-MARÉ DUDDY
FIDCOH, a joint venture of five BEE companies, yesterday celebrated its official launch, releasing numbers which show that the newcomer is pulling its weight in the fishing industry.
The company already caught its freezer quota of 610 metric tons at the beginning of the year, as well as 95 per cent of its wet fish quota.
“It is easy to sell your quota. It is easy to make the big buck,” Fidcoh chairman Nicolaas Links said.
Shareholders in the Fidcoh are staunch supporters of Government’s drive to Namibianise the fishing sector, making sure that the people benefit from the country’s resources.
“Fidcoh is a true Namibian company, where all corners of the country are represented in its structural ownership,” Links said.
The five black economic empowerment companies, all with a 20 per cent stake, are Future Energy, Ichingo Lyowbami Enterprises, Deepsea Consolidated Investments, Community Catering and Cleaning Services and Hatago Fishing.
Over the past sixth months, Fidcoh has pumped more than N$1,7 million into the economy, mostly in the form of levies and taxes to Government.
“This may sound like a drop in the ocean”, Links said, but it is considerable taking into account that Fidcoh is the new kid on the block.
So far it has paid about N$763,7 million in quota levies to the fiscus, as well as about N$598,6 million in value added tax (VAT), and N$80,1 million in fund and by-catch levies.
In addition, Fidcoh has invested about N$292 million in various community sponsorships as part of it corporate social responsibility programme.
The company is also serious about employing Namibians.
Over 65 people were employed to fulfil Fidcoh’s frozen quota, while 27 Namibians work on the vessels. About 900 indirect jobs have been retained through Fidcoh’s operations.
Links said like many other new entrants to the fishing industry, Fidcoh faced many initial challenges. The biggest was getting a joint venture agreement with an “experienced and stronger management company to effectively manage our quota to the best possible mutual benefit of the parties”.
Fidcoh got Cato Fishing on board to catch, process and market its quota of 2 035 metric tons. Cato also paid all the levies and, in turn, paid Fidcoh a “usage fee”.
Other challenges included a slow-down in catch rates in April and the inability of processing plants to handle the quota made available. “Most importantly, acceptance of our existence by those who had a long history in the industry,” Links said.
“But we have realised that, whilst faced with these challenges, there are distinct opportunities for us all in this sector.
Most important of all, is that there is room for expansion in the fishing industry, especially with regard to innovation and investment,” he said.
Fidcoh will be taking up a 12,5 per cent stake in an operational vessel during the forthcoming season, and plans to acquire a 20 per cent stake in a processing factory by the 2015-16 season.
“It is only through such endeavours that we can effectively tap into value addition endeavours of this resource, built capacity and contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product of our country,” Links said.