Mining contributes N$3.9b to fiscus

• By Hilary Mare

THE mining sector continues to be a prime contributor to the economy and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the mining sector contributed 10.1 percent to GDP and N$3.9 billion to the fiscus, mines and energy minister, Tom Alweendo has said.

Alweendo this week told parliament that this was only possible because of private sector investment.

“It is therefore important to ensure that as a country we continue to be an attractive investment destination. At the same time, we continue to investigate ways how our mineral resources can become more valuable to the country and the local economy. These include how to capture as much value as reasonable possible from our mineral resources,” he said.

With regards to the energy sector, Alweendo said government was working hard to improve the security of electricity supply; where the plan is to have at least 70 percent of electricity demand being produced locally.

“We are also entering an exciting phase in the energy sector. For example, our ability to produce the energy of the future – green hydrogen and ammonia – is something that’s energising us. In the shortest period of time, Namibia has become a sought-after and serious contender for synthetic fuel investment, especially green hydrogen. So far we have signed various MoUs with various countries that would like to collaborate with us in this new sector.

“The countries are Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The socio-economic spin-offs from this new fuel sector is enormous. For example, it is now more thinkable than ever that we will have more affordable electricity that is so essential in our quest to industrialise,” the minister said further stating that another exciting thing is the recent oil that has been discovered offshore.

“The discovery has a real potential to transform our economy. While more work is still being done before the oil starts to flow, we will be busy putting the necessary measures in place to ensure that we manage the oil resource such that it benefits not only this generation but also future generations.”

During the year 2021/22 the ministry was able to achieve various milestones. For example, Alweendo said, the ministry was able to review and improve our permitting processes.

“The ministry receives applications from prospective investors to carry out minerals exploration. We also receive applications for hydrocarbons exploration and to trade in fuel. Whereas it used to take us up to two years to process applications for mineral exploration rights, it now takes us not more than six months to finalise an evaluation of an application,” he said.

Alweendo was motivating his ministry’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year in which the ministry is requesting a budget allocation of N$194 126 000.