12 April 2013

Namibia: Slow Funding Affects Rural Development

THE release of state funds for capital projects in phases has been blamed for delays in the implementation of rural socio-economic development initiatives.

This was the view Hardap Regional Council’s deputy director of planning, Casius Herero expressed at the Regional Development Committee (RDC) meeting held at Mariental yesterday.

Herero cited as an example the the case of Asab rural centre about 100 kilometres south of Mariental, to which he said the central government had only allocated N$2 million during the current and past fiscal year for the project whose cost was estimated at N$45 million.

“The release of state-funding in tranches is affecting rural development. Because of this, it takes us (council) between five and six years to complete a simple sewerage line project,” said Herero.

He said the N$2 million which had been allocated for the Asab project, whose feasibility study was completed in 2011, will only be enough to fund the fencing of 40 hectares and the construction of a house for security guards.

Herero urged the central government to explore the possibility of sourcing donor funding, especially for planned development projects in rural areas across the country, to accelerate rural development.

“The rural centre development projects are competing with electricity, water and road infrastructure projects,” Herero said.

He also suggested that the National Planning Commission officials be invited to the next RDC meeting to hear from them whether they could not come up with solutions to address the phased state-funding that is delaying rural development progress.

Herero also took issue with the government Equity Trust Fund, claiming that only some regions were benefiting more from the fund.

Echoing Herero’s sentiments, the Gibeon Village Council chief executive officer, David Lamberth, expressed skepticism about the development of rural centres.

“The rural centres development is apparently not a priority for the line ministry (Local Government Ministry,” said Lamberth who also told the meeting that the government Equity Trust Fund allocated N$8,5 million to the village council for infrastructure development.

Lamberth said about N$2 million of the funds had been used to upgrade the sewerage lines in the village which had been plagued by perennial bursts.

“We used the money to minimise contamination and pollution of underground water due to constant sewerage overflows. If you go to Gibeon, you’ll only see pools of rain water,” Lamberth boosted.

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