Chinese have captured RCC: Smit

15 May 2018 20:40pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) - The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has expressed dismay over the “infiltration” of the Chinese government or firms into Namibian parastatals in the form of soft loans, projects and management.
PDM Treasurer-General Nico Smit aired these sentiments during a media briefing in the capital, where he accused the Chinese government of having “captured” the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) and being on a crusade to capture even more State companies.
“It seems like the Chinese have already taken over RCC. And it is common knowledge that Chinese companies that operate in Namibia do not spend what they earn in Namibia,” Smit said.
His remarks come just a week after The Namibian daily reported that the RCC had entered into an agreement to borrow N.dollars 570 million from a Chinese entity to keep the cash-stripped company afloat, a move that irks finance minister, Calle Schlettwein.
Smit questioned why the majority of RCC’s projects and other state tenders were being given to Chinese firms.
The PDM lawmaker then lambasted Chinese companies who have gotten State projects for failing to transfer skills to locals.
He said unlike other foreign firms that are obliged by the Namibian government to have local understudy programmes, the same cannot be said about the Chinese.
“With the Chinese companies, it’s not like that. They bring in their skilled people, even their labourers, and we benefit absolutely nothing,” he said.
Smit then accused Chinese firms of tax evasion, saying it is common knowledge that Chinese companies that operate in Namibia do not spend the money they earn here.
“No tax is paid in Namibia. So, what is in for Namibia?”
Smit stressed that a situation cannot go unabated where a foreign government is allowed to buy shares in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
He said if the situation is allowed, other financially struggling SOEs like Air Namibia could soon “sell out”, while other SOEs like Telecom, NamWater and NamPower could follow suit if they start experiencing financial difficulties.
“There is no doubt that this government is taking Namibia down a very dangerous path because of its financial mismanagement and the fact that it has saddled us with a huge number of parastatals that have brought Namibia to its knees financially.”
Asked whether cash-stripped RCC ought to be recapitalised or liquidated, he replied: “It must be liquidated! Like the student fund, they have shown that they can’t run the entity sustainably and profitably; it should become a department within the ministry.”