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 14 Sep 2018

THE NAMIBIAN government has resolved to invest in infrastructure projects in the //­Karas region in the current fiscal year, economic planning minister Obeth Kandjoze said recently.

He was quoted in The Namibian newspaper dated 6 June 2018.

According to the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) for 2018/19-2020/21, the minister said beside this year's confirmed N$1 billion, //Karas will receive N$833 million in the 2019/20 financial year and N$831 million in 2020/21.

About N$70 million will be allocated to the rehabilitation of the southern railway line's Sandverhaar-Buchholzbrunn section, and N$24 million will be for the ongoing upgrading and rehabilitation of the Aus-Lüderitz railway line.

Funds have been allocated for the construction of bulk services at Keetmanshoop (N$15 million), Lüderitz (N$8 million), Tses (N$7 million), Bethanie (N$4 million), Berseba (N$7 million), Noordoewer (N$3 million), Karasburg (N$5 million), Oranjemund (N$6 million), Aroab (N$3 million), Grünau (N$1 million), Aus (N$6 million) and Ariamsvlei (N$3 million).

An amount of N$20 million was set aside for the //Karas regional park currently under construction, while N$11 million will go towards the construction of the new Keetmanshoop vocational training centre of which the ground-breaking took place recently.

The region will receive N$25 million for its land purchase sub-programme and N$12 million for the ongoing construction at the Keetmanshoop military base. Another N$15 million was set aside for the upgrading and renovation of the Keetmanshoop state hospital, and N$4 million for the maintenance and repair of health infrastructure in the region.

According to The Namibian of 6 June 2018, //Karas governor Lucia Basson welcomed the fund allocation for regional infrastructure development during this time of economic and fiscal challenges. She further said her office will monitor the implementation of capital projects to ensure the money is spent in a transparent and accountable manner.

These development projects constitute a long-term investment for the region and the country in general.

We thought it is worth highlighting among others, the benefits the upgrading According to the report from the port manager dated 7 July 2018:

– The upgrading of the port of Lüderitz will have a collateral effect by raising TransNamib's profit by an anticipated N$50 million per annum;

– The relocation of Debmarine from Port Nollorth to the port of Lüderitz can automatically be a star;

– The upgraded port of Lüderitz will offer a competitive geographic location for easier export as it is close to the manganese basin which lies in the Kalahari;

– The upgraded port of Lüderitz will allow bigger sea cruise liners (ships) to dock at the port of Lüderitz which will boost profits from the tourism industry.

It will bring in more employment for the population and alleviate poverty among affected communities.

The fishing industry brings 50% of revenue to the port of Lüderitz, yet the mining industry makes 30% of it. Upgrading the port of Lüderitz will definitely raise these figures. According to the labour market data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency in 2016, the population of //Karas was 85 759 of which 59 447 were above 15 years (69,3%).

Of this group, 44 889 (75 5%) are economically active and 10 336 (23%) are unemployed.

This initiative by the government will bring development to the people, reducing unemployment and eradicating poverty.

Jan Scholtz