BY CAROL-ANNE SULEGA
BECH de mer export licences were issued based on investment successions.
This was according to the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon John Maneniaru when queried by the Member of Parliament for Aoke-Langalanga, Hon Mathew Wale yesterday on the floor of Parliament over the rationale of the four issued Beche-de-mer licenses granted by the Ministry.
The Minister responded stating that the export licences were issued based on Cabinet’s decision through stringent criteria.
All four Beche-de-mer licences were granted to Asian businessmen.
The Minister told Parliament that the criteria are not lenient to foreign investors.
Maneniaru then told Parliament yesterday that in the past, the Ministry approved and issued 12 Beche-de-mer export licences and of the 12, only 10 were able to export.
“Two only exported 5 tonnes whilst the others exports containers of low quality Beche-de-mer,” the Minister said.
He then added that the Ministry and through Cabinet decisions, decided it is better to have quality over quantity given their past experiences in issued export licenses.
Maneniaru confidently told Parliament yesterday that the four investors that had their export licences approved through the given criteria were all consistently issued licences in the last 10 years.
“They have also contributed to the development of the fisheries sector,” the Minister said.
The Leader of the Official Opposition Group, Hon Manasseh Maelanga then commented on the Minister’s statement that the criteria he disclosed on the floor of Parliament is clear and wanted to know if news about three more export licences to be issued is correct and what kind of criteria the Ministry used for the additional three.
The Minister then responded that the Leader of the Official Opposition Group’s question would be a new question apart from what was in yesterday order paper.
Maelanga then responded stating that his question is still in line with that of the order paper and then let the Deputy Speaker of Parliament make the judgement himself.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources then told the House that with regards to the Leader of the Official Opposition Group’s question, he would consult his Ministry officials to furnish all Members of Parliament and the nation with the information requested by Maelanga as soon it is put in as a question in the order paper.