N.dollars 719 million needed for railway construction, upgrades

07 May 2019 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 07 MAY (NAMPA) – The Department of Transport has requested N.dollars 719 million to construct new railways and to upgrade, as well as to rehabilitate, older ones.
While motivating the Department of Transport’s budget allocation of N.dollars 3 billion in the National Assembly on Monday, Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa said fatal road accidents can be lessened if heavy loads are transported via railways.
“The current trend of transportation of heavy loads on our roads is unsustainable as it not only results in many crashes, but high road maintenance costs as well,” Mutorwa added.
The minister said the transport sector has been experiencing inadequate funding for development of new rail transport infrastructure, as well as insufficient skills.
Additionally, N.dollars 2 billion is required to construct and maintain State-owned airports, their upgrading, as well as to rehabilitate roads of both gravel and bitumen standards.
Insufficient funding has also led to contractors slowing down work, resulting in contract periods being extended, which also means additional costs.
“The increase in traffic volumes and the increase in traffic loading due to industry preferences for road transport for delivery of their goods have led to a faster rate of deterioration of the road network. To keep the road serviceable, the ministry has increased its maintenance and rehabilitation efforts,” Mutorwa said.
An amount of about N.dollars 34 million is needed for the department to develop, review and administer relevant legislation, along with the regulation of transport services.
Furthermore, aircraft accident investigations will require N.dollars 8.8 million to improve aviation safety by probing the causes of aircraft accidents and serious incidents to prevent future occurrences.
Mutorwa requested an additional N.dollars 30 million for Government’s air transport services that was allocated N.dollars 55 million in the 2019/20 financial year.
Normally, this service has an operational budget of about N.dollars 85 million annually. However, due to financial challenges, most of the activities could not be executed to full capacity.
The additional funds will assist in preventing the grounding of Government aircrafts due to unavailability of funds, procuring aircraft maintenance services and spare parts, as well as honouring contractual obligations.