08 Nov 2013 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 08 NOV (NAMPA) The Namibian Port Authority (Namport) signed loan and guarantee agreements for the construction of a new N.dollars 3 billion container terminal with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in the capital on Friday.
The Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila signed the agreements on behalf of the Namibian Government, while Namport Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bisey /Uirab signed on behalf of Namport, the Regional Director: Southern African Region at the AfDB Ebrima Faal signed on behalf of the bank and Li Yi, who is the Regional Manager for Southern Africa at CHEC, signed on behalf of that company.
CHEC is the appointed contractor for the new N.dollars 3,38 billion container terminal to be constructed in Walvis Bay. The container terminal development is largely financed by Namport after the Namibian Government funded it with N. dollars 250 million with a guarantee for the balance.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in order to support the realisation of this project, Government has agreed to provide a sovereign guarantee to cover the loan.
The support Government is extending is in cognisance of the strategic importance of the project to our economy, she added.
The minister said infrastructure development is a catalyst for high and sustained economic growth and the shortage of critical and strategic infrastructure tends to reduce economic output.
Namibia, she added, is increasing levels of investments in infrastructure in order to address bottle-necks and create synergies necessary to make Namibia an investor-sought destination in order to support economic growth.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila went on to say Namibia's engagements with the AfDB have benefited the country in many areas such as roads, railway development projects, education infrastructure and capacity-building.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, /Uirab who said once completed, the terminal will triple Namport's capacity, leading to a direct improvement in throughput for this industry and unleashing another N.dollars 500 million per year as value-addition to Namibia's economy.
This additional capacity will bring down the transport cost element of goods purchased in Namibia and our neighbouring countries, he said, noting that at present, the transport element represents some 14 per cent of the total cost versus an international standard of only five per cent.
The NamPort CEO explained that this development is but one of many initiatives which Namibias National Development Plans (NDP) envisage to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.
The fourth NDP firmly places logistics as one of the four key pillars to achieve these goals, he said.
/Uirab said the development of a logistics hub will support Government's stated intention to develop an industrialised economy by fast-tracking manufacturing activity, which is already growing at six per cent per year.
He said Namport has been self-sustaining financially for both its operations and infrastructure development, which includes almost N.dollars 600 million in investments, over the past five years.
The groundbreaking ceremony to mark the construction of the new container terminal will take place in the few months, which will be followed by the implementation of the project until 2017, when it is expected to be completed.
Namport operates in an international environment with some 2 500 ports around the world.
It provides direct employment to more than 380 staff, and currently has 28 students on full bursary programmes in a variety of specialised disciplines.