Mining companies are still procuring goods and services from foreign companies, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo, despite the fact that local companies could potentially provide these goods and services.
He was speaking at the virtual mining expo’s opening yesterday.
According to Section 50(d) of the Minerals Act, mining companies can only purchase goods and services from outside Namibia if they are not available locally, according to the minister.
The total value of goods and services procured by the mining sector in 2020 is estimated to be around N$12,3 billion.
“Even though the figure looks good, there is still a difference between Namibian-registered companies (foreign-owned) and Namibian-owned companies. A significant portion of the local procurement amount still goes to foreign-owned Namibian-registered companies,” the minister said.
Alweendo said it is for this reason that the ministry, in collaboration with the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, is developing a database for local inputs.
He said the database will serve the industry by providing a platform for local suppliers to meet the needs of mining companies, and for mining companies to procure from locals.
“I urge you all to provide your inputs into the database as it is developed. As we rebound stronger from the Covid-19 crisis, I am immensely proud of how the mining sector responded to the pandemic, whereby operations continued to keep employees safe. Namibia’s mining companies remained resilient and performed on all fronts while at the same time enhanced their social licence to operate, strengthening their obligation in supporting their employees, and communities in which they operate,” Alweendo said.
Amid the slowdown, the pandemic showed the need for mining companies to be good corporate citizens, Alweendo said, adding that during this time, the industry heeded the government’s call to support national efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
On record, chamber members collectively donated about N$77,9 million towards various national and local efforts.
Alweendo said such contributions consisted of cash and in-kind donations, which were mostly towards ensuring preparedness of local hospitals, improving response mechanisms and equipping communities to curb further transmission of the virus.
“I must commend you all for the noble efforts in assisting the government to fight the brutal pandemic as we seek some sort of new normal. The situation may have stabilised since the peak of the crisis, but that stability is fragile.
“No one ever thought that one-day mining activities would have to slow down, or that non-essential operations would have to be put on hold until further notice,” he said.
The Namibian mining industry employs a workforce of 14 591 people directly and accounts for 50% of the country’s exports.
“It’s in this regard that I certainly believe mining must look towards building resilience in its value chains – from suppliers to downstream customers,” he said.