Lack of qualified contractors holding back rural electrification

27 Mar 2014 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 27 MAR (NAMPA) – Qualified and adequately experienced contractors in Namibia remain a challenge, resulting in many rural electrification projects not being implemented on time.
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali expressed this concern in the National Assembly on Wednesday while introducing his ministry’s budget allocation of N.dollars 869 453 000.
“Delays and timely delivery of transformers and other exported materials also hamper the implementation of projects,” he stressed.
However, the ministry continues with rural electrification programmes by providing electricity to schools and other Government infrastructures, as well as churches in rural areas in all the regions, Katali said.
Rural electrification work was underway in 38 local areas countrywide during the 2013/14 financial year.
He noted that an amount of N.dollars 85 million was budgeted for the programme, however 47 per cent (N.dollars 40 million) of that amount was used for the upgrading of overloaded distribution substations in the Central North Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored) and the Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) regions.
Katali indicated that the Solar Revolving Fund (SRF) continues to issue loans to successful applicants at a five per cent interest rate.
The Solar Revolving Fund is an ownership model, where the end user purchases a solar system by making use of the revolving credit scheme facility and thus becomes the owner of the system.
Katali said it is his firm belief that renewable energy technologies can be part of the solution to energising rural areas which remain a challenge in the country.
The fund, he said, successfully issued a total of 441 loans worth N.dollars 12 million during the 2013/14 financial year.