16 Apr 2014 14:10pm
ONGWEDIVA, 16 APR (NAMPA) Mines and Energy Minister, Isak Katali says Namibia will continue to be vulnerable to fluctuations in the prices of petroleum products worldwide until the local oil and gas exploration efforts start yielding positive results.
Katali made this remark at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industrys (NCCI) Northern Branch at Ongwediva on Tuesday.
The Mines and Energy Minister said a Spanish company and its partners have started to drill a well in the Walvis Basin in search of oil locally.
However, any discovery of oil today does not mean that we will feel the effect of that discovery tomorrow or next year, Katali stated, adding that it may take up to 10 years before the country could be I a position to pump that oil into cars.
Katali at the same time condemned the practice of some Namibians who acquire Exclusive Prospecting Licenses (EPLs) for mining, only to end up selling the licences and prospecting rights to foreign mining speculators.
This practice, the minister said, is a serious concern for the Namibian Government because EPLs have become a get-rich-quick scheme for those who have benefitted from the acquisition of such licenses.
The owners or holders of these EPLs are opting to sell them to foreign speculators who, in fact, do not possess any mining background, Katali explained.
He described the selling of EPLs to foreign mining speculators as a sad practice that defeats the governments effort of creating wealth for the indigenous people through mining rights.
Katali used the same platform to urge the NCCI and its business community in the North to support the efforts of his Ministry to achieve its set goals of increasing local participation in mining and mineral rights sectors.
The NCCIs Northern Branch membership re-elected Tomas Iindji as its executive committee (Exco) chairperson for the third consecutive year during the AGM on Tuesday.