DEFENCE Minister Geoffrey Mwamba has challenged the Namibian Ports Authority (NAMPORT) to woo Zambians and business entities to use the Walvis Bay for imports and exports.
Mr Mwamba observed that most Zambians were not using the Walvis Bay port because the authority in Namibia had not adequately advertised the facility.
He said NAMPORT should take advantage of the congested ports in other countries that Zambians use to market their Walvis Bay port.
The minister, who was in the company of his Home Affairs counterpart, Edgar Lungu, said this when he visited the Walvis Bay port in Namibia.
The two ministers are here for a four-day Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between the two countries from July 23 to 26, 2013.
“Imports from here are not adequate to cover transportation costs, transporters want a two-way route to cover costs. I would, therefore, urge you to come to Zambia and advertise extensively,” he said.
Earlier, NAMPORT chief executive officer Bisey Uirab informed the two ministers that the Namibian Government had allocated a portion of land to the Zambian Government to facilitate import and exports of goods and services.
The ministers later visited the portion of land at the port and discovered that a company known as African Union Cargo was operating from the premises.
There was uncertainty regarding the contract by the company and that prompted the ministers to request for an agreement which the company claimed to have entered into with the Zambian Government.
The chief executive officer of the company promised that he would try to avail it by today.
The two ministers also visited Seaworks Fish Processing Plant in Walvis Bay. The company, which had been operating for more than 18 years processes fish for export to the European, Asian and some of the African markets.
The company has more than 1,500 employees, of which 85 per cent are women.
Company chief executive officer Pierre Marais, who took the two ministers on a conducted tour of the plant, said the move to employe more women was to empower them to take care of their families.
And Mr Lungu said Zambia could learn from the Namibian policy of partnership between local and foreign investors as a way of creating employment.
He said once such a policy was fully implemented, it could help with employment creation in the country.
“I am also impressed with the gender aspect in the company, because the more women are engaged in economic activities, the better because mothers know where to spend the money wisely,” Mr Lungu said.