Fishing firms owe N$22,9 m

Fishing firms owe N$22,9 m

ONLY a few fishing companies had paid their quota fees to the Ministry of Fisheries by December last year – N$22,9 million remains outstanding.

The industry has suffered severe setbacks since 2004 because of unfavourable exchange rates, flat markets, high fuel prices and an unfavourable catch-size mix. Government allowed limited relief measures to the fishing industry in August 2005, including payment plans to settle outstanding quota fees in stages by December 31 2006.A total of 25 concession holders benefited from Government’s relief measures, but only 21 submitted payment plans.Only nine of the 25 have fully settled their outstanding quota fees, while 13 have not paid in full and four did not make any commitment on the amount outstanding despite several reminders being sent to them.”Cabinet approved at its latest meeting that the full payment of all outstanding quota fees, amounting to N$22,96 million, should be done before June 29 2007,” Information Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said on Tuesday.”Cabinet also resolved that companies owing money for the 2000-2004 fishing seasons should submit their payment plans to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources by March 19, which was on Monday.”The Minister of Fisheries, Dr Abraham Iyambo, will deliver his annual address to the fishing industry at Swakopmund on Friday.The Ministry plans to commission a study to look into the various fees charged by Government.Fees include fish quota and licence fees, by-catches and landing fees as well as fees to be paid for fisheries observers who accompany fish trawlers and fees for uncaught fish species.The study is to recommend a mechanism on to how to subtract a portion of a quota from a concession holder who fails to pay quota fees.Government allowed limited relief measures to the fishing industry in August 2005, including payment plans to settle outstanding quota fees in stages by December 31 2006.A total of 25 concession holders benefited from Government’s relief measures, but only 21 submitted payment plans.Only nine of the 25 have fully settled their outstanding quota fees, while 13 have not paid in full and four did not make any commitment on the amount outstanding despite several reminders being sent to them.”Cabinet approved at its latest meeting that the full payment of all outstanding quota fees, amounting to N$22,96 million, should be done before June 29 2007,” Information Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said on Tuesday.”Cabinet also resolved that companies owing money for the 2000-2004 fishing seasons should submit their payment plans to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources by March 19, which was on Monday.” The Minister of Fisheries, Dr Abraham Iyambo, will deliver his annual address to the fishing industry at Swakopmund on Friday.The Ministry plans to commission a study to look into the various fees charged by Government.Fees include fish quota and licence fees, by-catches and landing fees as well as fees to be paid for fisheries observers who accompany fish trawlers and fees for uncaught fish species.The study is to recommend a mechanism on to how to subtract a portion of a quota from a concession holder who fails to pay quota fees.

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