All schools electrified by 2020: Shilunga

27 Sep 2016 19:10pm
RUNDU, 27 SEP (NAMPA) - All schools and health facilities in Namibia will have electricity by 2020, despite the fact that all rural electrification projects have been put due to insufficient funds.
Speaking at the Kavango East Development Conference held at Divundu last week, Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy (MME) Cornelia Shilunga said access to electricity is regarded as an important performance indicator.
“Energy is the sub-pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and electrification is one of the key performance indicators,” said Shilunga.
She said five primary schools in the Kavango East Region will receive electricity under the 2015/2016 rural electrification project, which was allocated a sum of N.dollars 5 578 304.13.
These junior primary schools (JPS) are Tara-tara in the Mashare Constituency; Dikungu, Katentura and Thipanana in Mukwe Constituency; and Kagcuva Primary School in the Ndiyona Constituency.
There are 370 schools without electricity countrywide, of which 49 are in the Kavango East Region alone.
The contractor is already on site and installations are ongoing at the schools that are to be electrified during the current financial year.
“However, the tender award recommendation for the wiring of Government buildings is on hold at the National Tender Board until further notice,” she said.
All rural electrification projects were put on hold until further notice.
“The directives came from the Tender Board in the Ministry of Finance,” she pointed out, saying there are insufficient funds under the 2016/17 financial year for rural electrification projects, which has been reduced by N.dollars 25 million.
A sum of N.dollars 7 562 663.04 was allocated under the 2016/2017 rural electrification project for the electrification of six schools in the region.
This tender, Shilunga stressed, was advertised on 13 September this year and the closing date is 05 October 2016.
The ministry is also experiencing a shortage of qualified electrical contracting companies and difficulties in sourcing building materials as most of the materials come from South Africa, which takes close to four months to acquire.
Another challenge is the sparsely populated villages that make it hard for grid electrification to reach the remote communities.
The two Kavango regions (East and West) are fed from the main 132kV NamPower transmission line from the Otjikoto Substation, situated about 8 kilometres east of Tsumeb.