The Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Jay Ngwele, has taken the decision to make use of the domestic wharf in South Paray bay for local ships to enable strict control amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would also like to see a proper control of local ships since we have reports that during the recent lockdown, some ships have left in the night without proper authorization and that must be stopped,” Ngwele explained.
“The area of the South Paray wharf is fenced and quite huge, that could help to monitor ships during lockdowns and prevent passengers from entering the premises.”
Mr Ngwele said there is also the fact that the government has spotted irregularities in the contract signed on the 13th of October 2014 on the use of the area of Katatara that is being used by local ships which is very small.
“The government is of the view that we need to make money to enable better service delivery to our shipping industry and that is an avenue that the government has missed for several years,” he said.
“We cannot continue to delay this.”
According to Minister Ngwele, there have been an initiative to review the agreement signed in 2014 by the two parties involved but he has decided to stop the review and end the agreement. This way, all local ships will berth at the South Paray wharf in the near future as soon as all legal procedures are complete.
“We still have some technical issues of safety on the South Paray wharf but instructions have already issued to address them,” Minister Ngwele said.
“The ships will be soon be diverted to berth at the new location and fees will be paid to government,” he stressed.
Mr Ngwele said the decision was taken because of the global coronavirus outbreak but while working on the assessment, irregularities were spotted in the 2014 agreement.
According to the First Political Advisor to the Ministry of Public Utilities, Joshua Kalsakau, the agreement signed in 2014 is allegedly fraudulent because the government was paying rental fees to a residential lease holder and the reclaimed area where ships are using today have no land titles.
The government has already written to the landowners to announce the new directives taken by the State Minister.