Namibian prime
minister Hage Geingob
“’ a barrage of demands
from the Chinese
Windhoek, Namibia — 11 March 2013 – Chinese company Eastern China Non-Ferrous Metals Investment Holding (ECE) has given a definite indication that it wants the government of Namibia to sanction work permits for its entire work force for its planned iron ore mine and industrial park in the Kunene Region. It is also seeking a wide range of import tariff and tax relief. reports that this is just one of the demands made by an ECE delegation in a project proposal presented here to prime minister Hage Geingob. The delegation, sent to brief government on the ECE’s investments in Namibia, was led by Ziran Zhong, a chief engineer in China’s Ministry of Land and Resources.

ECE last year discovered a deposit of 3,268 billion tonnes of iron ore at the Orumana village, some 30km south of Opuwo in the Kunene Region, and is planning to construct a multi-billion dollar industrial complex near Opuwo.

The company is also calling on government not to apply import tariffs on production equipment and goods for investment that it needs to import for the planned industrial park. It also wants to be exempted from export tax on the products manufactured and processed in the  planned industrial park.

In its project proposal, ECE furthermore asks government to allow all products produced and processed by enterprises in the industrial park to have access to the Namibian market.

It also proposed that land approval procedures for investors in the industrial park be simplified, and that the investors not be charged any rent for the first six months of the operation of the industrial park, after which it seeks a lease term of 99 years. It also wants preferential policies on income tax and value-added tax (VAT).

Briefing the Prime Minister, ECE executive chairman Yi Shao said that if everything went well, the projects would contribute US$700 million to Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employ about 5,000 Namibians.

The company is busy with the exploration of iron ore resources in Opuwo, and has already been granted an exclusive prospecting licence (EPL) by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
According to its project proposal, the company has so far invested US$20 million in geological and geophysical prospecting, drilling and trench work.

The industrial park will focus mainly on iron ore mining and steel smelting, supported by related industries, including section bar processing, machinery, trade, logistics and hotels.
On his part, prime minister Geingob pointed out that the country was faced with an unemployment problem, and would not allow foreigners to do jobs Namibians could do.

“You can bring in expertise, but not employ foreigners in jobs that Namibians are capable of doing. This will poison the longstanding relations between the two countries,” Geingob warned.

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