Windhoek — The Government recently received a team of fifteen expatriates from Zimbabwe in the fields of civil/structural engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, quantity surveying and architecture.
The assistance comes at a time when Namibia faces enormous challenges in terms of the implementation of Government capital projects and the lack of professionals to oversee projects in the Ministry of Works and Transport.
One of the major projects affected by the lack of technical expertise is the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) under which the government intends to reduce the high unemployment rate.
The Minister of Works and Transport, Errki Nghimtina said the situation was so worrisome that Government decided to engage the Zimbabwean government at the highest level, to assist with professionals in critical areas.
"As we have experienced over the past few years, the implementation of capital projects of the government have been severely affected by the acute shortage of qualified and experienced professional personnel at this ministry. This lack of qualified personnel, especially in the department of works has affected all the three main disciplines of the construction industry, which are architecture, quantity surveying and engineering," said Nghimtina.
He further said numerous attempts to recruit and retain needed professionals were unsuccessful, because of the limited skills sets in these critical areas, adding that the effects of the shortage of professional personnel has been a poor delivery rate of capital projects and in some cases, the sub-standard quality of completed buildings.
"Ladies and gentlemen from Zimbabwe, the main objective for your assignment here in Namibia is to promote, develop and increase cooperation in the implementation of infrastructure development and the maintenance of government projects," the expatriates were told.
To be able to operate optimally and achieve reasonable levels of execution, the department of works urgently required experienced professionals, which led to the sourcing of the professionals from Zimbabwe.
Initially, President Hifikepunye Pohamba sent a Special Envoy on August 24, 2011 with a message to President Robert Mugabe requesting technical and professional expertise.
Subsequently a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries was signed on May 16, 2012 in Harare, setting the wheels in motion that resulted in the 15 expatriates coming to Namibia.