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Budget for land reform little

The recently held four-day workshop on land reform and resettlement has called for an increase in the budget allocation to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in order to speed up the resettlement programme in the country.
The workshop, which ended on Sunday in the capital, was organised by the Lutheran Church in Namibia in collaboration with other civic society organisations. It was attended by over 150 delegates.
Participants noted that budget allocations for the land reform and resettlement programme was little and more money was needed if the exercise was going to be successful. They also raised concern on the prices of the targeted farms which they said were overpriced.
In a statement, participants noted: “Since independence only 293 resettlement farms were bought for N$560 million to resettle 4000 beneficiaries and government’s own estimates are that more than 200,000 Namibians have indicated the desire to access land to engage in productive agricultural activities.
“There is a complete lack of a vision for the resettlement program and land reform has been divorced from agriculture. Low budgetary allocation and “uncontrolled prices” results in Government being unable to afford the land offered on “willing seller principles.”
Speaking to the Economist, Uhuru Dempers one of the organisers of the workshop declined to say how much was needed to fund the resettlement programme saying there was need to do a proper analysis before giving a specific figure.
Dempers, however blamed farm owners for the slow progress of the land reform programme, accusing them of overpricing their farms. He said there was a need to control farm prices so that government can buy as many farms with the available resources.
“The prices are unreasonable. They need to be controlled and remember most of these farmers didn’t even buy their land but they just got it for free.
“I think government must start expropriating land from absent landlords who are sitting somewhere in Europe,” he said.
Asked whether this will not turn Namibia into another Zimbabwe, Dempers said this will be different.
“We will do it legally. We will not go and burn down a farm like what Mugabe was doing.For example, we will give the owners of unutilised land notice of expropriation and then start with negotiations.”
Meanwhile the workshop concluded that land reform seems not to be a priority of government judging from the slow progress made after independence to acquire land and resettle landless Namibians.
The workshop however agreed on a mechanism to identify unutilised or underutilised commercial farms for expropriation in terms of the provisions of the Commercial Agricultural Land Reform Act of 1995.
“Farms of “absentee landlords” will be prioritised and government pressured to expropriate those farms as already agreed at the 1991 National Land Conference and the 1994 Mariental Peoples Land Conference.”
The workshop welcomed the announcement by government that the current National Resettlement Policy will be reviewed.

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.