Grab bunkering market opportunity
The dilemma that faces the Ministers of Finance and Planning is that with a depleting natural resource sector it is necessary that we diversify the economy, especially in the situation in which income from the energy sector (it earns 90 per cent of our foreign exchange) is declining and deficit budgets are becoming the norm.
However, it will take a number of years before the earnings from the diversified economy could significantly contribute to national income, especially foreign income.
Hence, we have to maximise any commercially and environmentally viable opportunity in the energy sector to earn such income.
It is accepted worldwide that if you have developed and protected intellectual property you can use this to gain economic advantage by stopping access to its use by competitors.
Likewise, given the ability, we should restrict foreign competitors' access to the local bunkering market; one needs little sophisticated skills to operate and it presents little business and financial risks but earns foreign exchange at the buy/sell stage.
Hence it would not be in the interest of maximisation of current opportunities to invite foreign investment in this area.
If the constraint on our expansion in the market is local funding then this is where government public/private sector partnership can take place using public funding instead of spending as much on current subsidies.
Mary K King