WINDHOEK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A fisheries auction in Namibia
meant to pay for COVID-19 care has flopped, after bidders
stumped up barely 1.3% of the $38 million offers accepted, the
finance minister said on Wednesday.
The government blamed speculators for the failure.
In August, the government said it would auction its 60%
share of the annual horse mackerel and hake output by the end of
October, to raise funds for equipment and medicines.
That 60% quota is normally reserved for state-owned company
Fishcor, which has been caught up in a corruption scandal.
It included 11,000 tonnes of hake, 72,000 tonnes of horse
mackerel and 392 tonnes of monk. But only 100 tonnes of hake,
1,517 of horse mackerel and 300 of monk had been allocated and
paid for, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi told reporters.
Of 628 million Namibian dollars ($37.74 million) in bids
accepted, only 8.4 million was paid to the government, the
minister said, adding that most of the bidders were speculators
without history in the fisheries industry.
"We have learned good lessons from this auction and that
will be valuable going forward," Shiimi said.
"In the future, punitive measures will be introduced
including requirements for payment guarantees or bid securities
before participation in the auction."
Namibia, a country of two million, has reported 11,265 cases
and 121 deaths since the start of the outbreak in March, but its
economy has been devastated and it is seeking 4.5 billion
Namibian dollars in emergency loans from the International
Fishing is the third biggest contributor to Namibias gross
domestic product, after mining and agriculture, contributing
around 10 billion Namibian dollars in foreign currency earnings
($1 = 16.6410 Namibian dollars)
(Editing by Tim Cocks and Andrew Cawthorne)