EPL fees increased to exclude Namibians: Tweya

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Tjekero Tweya has accused Government of deliberately excluding Namibians from participating in mining with the current application fees to acquire a mining license.

Tweya expressed this position in Swakopmund on Tuesday during the oversight Workshop on Maximising the Potentials of the Mining and Energy Sectors in Namibia.

An Exclusive Prospecting License (EPL) ranges between N.dollars 2 000 for 20 000 hectares to N.dollars 10 000 for 100 000 hectares.

According to Tweya, the mining application fees were increased “on purpose to make sure Namibians do not take part”, adding it is too expensive.

He said the committee will deal with the issue and suggested that the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) review the current fees to consider Namibians who are unemployed and must rely on those particular resources that would at least change their lives through strategic partners that would help them.

Tweya expressed disappointment that young, unemployed Namibians are expected to have such exorbitant amounts of money, when they are not even in a position to go and apply for loans at financial institutions.

In response, MME Deputy Minister Kornelia Shilunga condemned Tweya’s remarks, stressing that the government’s mandate is to take custody of the natural resources and to ensure that they benefit every Namibian person.

“We did not just wake up and decide to make these changes, they were benchmarked, more especially with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. We always have to do this to make sure that what we do is not too different from what others are doing. Most of the time, we are trying to do the same because we want to make sure that we have regional integration when it comes to trading businesses,” she expressed.

Shilunga noted that applicants should prove that they have technical and financial ability to be able to be in this mining business.

“We have so many Namibians who have applied for EPLs but because of the capital intenseness of this sector, they are unable to do the business and therefore end up selling the licenses,” she said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency