Namibia to spend N$14b on key sectors
Government will allocate N$4.93 billion, to drive the Kudu power plant, N$7, 75 billion for the Green Scheme, and N$950 million for railway projects in the current expenditure plan in a bid to stimulate key sectors of the economy, Minister of Finance, Calle Schletwein, revealed in his budget expenditure.
Speaking at a budget luncheon hosted by our sister publication Prime Focus Magazine in conjunction with KPMGM, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and stockbroking firm, Simonis Storm, Schlettwein emphasised that there is need for Government to synchronise its policies in a way that improves the lives of Namibians.
“We need to align our policies in a way that drives our key targets. If we say we want to fight poverty then we need to allocate resources to support such an initiative and if we decide we want to improve industry then we also need to allocate resources that way,” Schlettwein said while addressing delegates at a budget luncheon at Country Club last week.
Although he gave what many have described as a pro-poor budget, Schlettwein has shown genuine concern in finding some of the key sectors that have been neglected, including rail rehabilitation, agriculture and power infrastructure.
He emphasised the need for Government to have policies and findings that correlate with their set agendas for a time period.
Speaking at the same occasion, Johannes !Gawaxab said there need for Government to continue looking at ways of broadening their revenue.
His sentiments come at a time when the South African Government recently revealed that their receipts from the Sothern African Customs Union (SACU) will be heavily affected and this means they will need to look elsewhere for our revenue.
Kudu has been touted as the country’s solution to the forecasted power shortages. However, there has been criticism with the snail-pace applied by Government in dealing with the initial planning and funding of the project.
Furthermore, the Kudu Gas project was hampered when Tullow Oil pulled out, leaving Government with no option but to look to China for potential support of the project.
Last year, The Villager reported that, Government will avail money to fund the 44% owned by the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) in the Kudu gas-to-power project.
Early last month, Former Minister of Finance and current Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, confirmed to The Villager that a cabinet submission was done and she was still waiting for feedback and advice from the cabinet on the way forward.
“Cabinet is still to take a decision on the support to kudu and the form of support. The announcement will be made in three comprehensive ways as Kudu is a big project. I try to look at kudu as one project and not look at it in parts such as the part of MoF, NamPower and Namcor or the MME. It is a national project thus the response from Cabinet will be comprehensive. I do not want to answer from one aspect as many components are involved. Let us be patient until that response is made through the normal channels,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
Meanwhile, former Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, told The Villager that although NamPower completed its research on the financial needs for the downstream package, cabinet was still to deliberate on the issue.
“This request is with the Ministry of Finance for finalisation and once they are finished with it, they will table it Cabinet for approval. I do not know how much the government support package is but once the Ministry of Finance tables it to Cabinet, we will all find out,” said Katali.
In 2014, The Villager reported that Government was yet to release the guarantee needed in the Kudu Gas project because both the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) and Namibia Power Corp (NamPower) did not submit all the required information needed for such a decision to be made by the Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
The project for NamPower alone is estimated to cost about US$ 1.2 billion (N$12.6 billion) as it owns 51% of the project.
Meanwhile, the construction of the project is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2015, while the implementation and commissioning was scheduled for the end of 2017 or at the latest in the first quarter of 2018. The Kudu gas power project is set to increase power production in Namibia.
The main elements of the project are the development of the Kudu gas field and the construction of an 800 megawatt (MW) combined cycle natural gas-fired power station near Oranjemund and when completed, this power station will feed the Namibian, Zambian and South African power grids.
The Green Scheme was established within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development with the mission to enhance socio-economic development and uplift the country’s rural communities.
The key towards the achievement of such development was based on the facilitation of an efficient economic environment by the Namibian Government.
The strategy entails the creation of an enabling, commercially viable environment through an effective public-private partnership to stimulate increasing private sector investment in the irrigation subsector.
by Tiri Masawi and Linekela Halwoodi: The Villager