President’s stance on power commendable
It is very obvious that Namibia, like any other Southern African Development Community (Sadc) country, is facing erratic power supply shortages, and this has put a heavy restraint on the growth of the manufacturing industry.
Power plays a very important role in driving growth of any industry.
In Namibia, Government has a Herculean task of making sure that the key goal of Vision 2030, which is to make Namibia an industrialised nation in 15 years, is met.
It cannot be over-emphasised that Government cannot claw closer to the ambition of industrialisation if Namibia does not generate its own power.
For this reason, Government should lay down modalities which improve power-generation and sustain their growth plans.
In line with this assertion, President Hage Geingob assigned Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze to come up with a way forward in dealing with temporary power shortages in the country until the time that the 800 megawatt Kudu power plant kicks in.
One of the tasks which Kandjoze has is to find a way of dealing with the power producers in a way which gives the country a breather from the constant power shortages.
While there are many other projects which are being worked on, the thorny issue has been the erection of the 250 MW Xaris power plant which many analysts and players in the power-generation industry feel might usurp the need for Kudu.
It is pretty clear that if the president has given a stern directive to the Minister responsible for power to deal with the implementation of the 250 MW and any other power producers, Government is on the right path.
In the interim, the country is sitting with a challenging power shortage because there was no prior concrete planning done by either Namibia or any other country in the region to deal with power shortages.
Perhaps now that there is a challenge, there is need for the Government to be the driving force in dealing with the issue of power shortages.
Not only does the Minister of Mines need to deal with the erection of the 250 MW power plant, but he also has to craft his own roadmap of how Namibia as a country can deal with this pressing challenge.
Namibia’s solutions to a pressing power deficit as the President wants should be intertwined with the plans which most of the countries in the Sadc region.
It is imperative that the whole region comes up with a power plan which deals with the challenges in a way that benefits the countries more than individuals.
The President has actually set the right tone in making sure that whatever project the minister chooses to drive as a gap-filler for power supply in these trying times is one that supports national development, and also comes at an affordable cost for the country.
It will be compromising one day if the country goes ahead and erects a 250MW power plant which will eventually turn into a white elephant when the Kudu kicks in because there was visible lack of planning from Nampower, who are the national power utility.
There is also the obvious option where Namibia can continue tapping for power from their sister utilities in the region for the foreseeable future without spending unnecessarily on the disputed 250 MW