18 Dec 2013 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 18 DEC (NAMPA) - Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali has commended the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) for the milestone it reached in the joint venture between with the De Beers Group and the Namibian Government.
He made the remarks during the handing over of dividends totaling N.dollars 80 million to Government in the capital on Tuesday.
Katali reflected back seven years ago, when the government signed a diamond-sorting, valuating and sales agreement with mining giant De Beers as part of a joint venture.
The minister said the expectations for the NDTC for it to be a relevant contributor to the growth of Namibia were very high, considering it was a new initiative within the Namibian economic spectrum.
At the time, and clearly visible today, this agreement paved the way for rough diamonds mined in Namibia to be sold to the international markets, but more importantly for a percentage of the rough diamonds to be retained and sold to contracted local sight holders in Namibia, who in turn cut and polish them for sale to local jewelers and for export, he said.
This means that Namibian diamonds had a platform to be sold directly to Namibians for production and processing in the country.
He added that giving direct access to Namibians to buy rough diamonds and enabling them to play a leading contributing role in the development of the economy and the job market, demonstrates the governments commitment to empower locals through job creation and skills development.
Katali added that the initiative led to the development of a thriving downstream diamond processing industry in the country.
Approximately 1 300 permanent quality jobs exist within the industry as a result, creating opportunities for skills development and the acquisition of highly specialised and technical skills for the employees in the industry, resulting in the reduction of expatriate workers in the factories, he said.
Katali furthermore said the NDTC, as a stand-alone entity with a business personality of its own, fits in well in the De Beers Group being the arm that ensures diamonds mined by its sister companies Namdeb and Debmarine are sorted, valued and sold to both the local and international markets.
He added that the NDTC has come to prove itself as a serious and valuable player through its contribution to the Namibian economy.
Katali also noted that the NDTC fulfills the mandate Government has tasked it with, and that its management team is able and competent to carry out this task despite the economic challenges often faced in the world, especially in the mining industry.
Despite these global economic constrains, our diamond manufacturing sector continues to grow from strength to strength, he said.