The Ambassador of Spain, H.E. Alfonso Barnuevo, officially handed over equipment to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Hage Geingob, at the NSI Testing Centre in Walvis Bay on 14 March 2011. The equipment, to the value of the Namibia Dollar equivalent of €300 000.00, will be utilized by the NSI to strengthen its capacity in the testing, inspection and certification of fish and fishery products. This followed after an agreement on the grant signed by the National Planning Commission (NPC) on behalf of the Republic of Namibia and, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain.
The technical assistance is implemented in terms of a programme on Quality Control, established under the fourth (IV) Spanish-Namibia Joint Commission of Cooperation. During the handover, the Ambassador emphasised that the aim of the technical assistance was to assist Namibia to foster international trade relations as a way to increase growth and facilitate employment creation. He continued to say that: ‘Since the main aim of NSI is to provide product quality, industrial efficiency and productivity as well as promote trade, it is worth to mention that these NSI laboratories play an important role in facilitating the export of the fish and fisheries products. I am confident that this equipment will also contribute to guarantee more speed in the analysis demanded for the export of crustaceans, among others species, he said.’ Accepting the equipment, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Hage Geingob, indicated that the funds allocated for the project has been utilized to acquire the equipment necessary to build capacity to test for heavy metals, histamine and norovirus in fish and fishery products at the NSI Food Testing Centre at Walvis Bay.
The introduction of these additional test methods is essential to reduce the turnaround time of tests which have hitherto been conducted only by laboratories in neighbouring South Africa and will benefit Namibia’s fishing industry as accurate and rapid results of the tests would be locally obtainable. He further mentioned that the training attended by staff under the project has been useful in developing staff competence which has contributed to the success of the laboratory assessment by the accreditation body. He thanked the Kingdom of Spain by concluding that:…’this occasion of the official handover of the equipment by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to me is indicative of commitment by the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of Namibia to the cooperate in all area of socio-economic development, particularly in the effort to promote trade between the two nations. As the Minister of Trade and Industry, I would like to reassure you of our commitment to provide the required resources necessary to facilitate trade and ensure the competitiveness of Namibian products and services both locally and internationally.’