9 April 2019

Namibia Channels AfDB's N$1 Billion Loan to Logistics

Windhoek — A N$1.1 billion portion of the money advanced to Namibia by the African Development Bank (AfDB) will be - together with government's own funding of N$831.9 million - channelled towards logistics infrastructure, mainly rail and road, agricultural mechanisation and school infrastructure renovation.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein announced this during the tabling of the 2019/20 national budget recently.

This forms part of the budget which makes several explicit provisions in order to resuscitate domestic economic growth and job creation.

Schlettwein said the remaining N$2.9 billion under AfDB funding will be utilised over the next two years.

AfDB last year approved the second tranche budget support loan of N$3 billion for Namibia. The total loan package consists of N$10 billion, of which N$6 billion is budget support (2017/18 and 2018/19) and N$4 billion project financing over a five-year period. Government applied for the loan at the beginning of 2017.

In collaboration with AfDB, and to encourage local participation, Schlettwein said construction projects will provide the option for 25 percent of the contract value to local entities through a competitive bidding process.

During this financial year, the development budget is increased to N$7.9 billion, from N$5.5 billion.

According to Schlettwein, this allocation must be protected against frequent reallocation and virements during the financial year.

Another explicit provisions he mentioned is the total allocation of N$290 million towards the crop and horticulture programme under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, of which N$96 million is targeted for the Green Scheme Programme.

An amount of N$469 million is allocated for water generation and infrastructure refurbishment programme.

This is for the purpose of increased productive capacity, increased efficiency and job creation in partnership with the private sector and to enhance water security in the country.

Further, an additional allocation of N$15 million allocated for youth entrepreneurship projects on top of N$9.5 million to support youth employment and self-employment under the National Youth Council is another provision made.

This, he says is in addition to youth related projects under the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service as well as the support facilities at the Development Bank of Namibia and the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development.

"Noting the severe effects of climate change and the ensuing drought, a total of N$100 million is allocated to the Emergency Fund, bringing the total balance of N$304 million. In addition, a total of N$204 million is provided for contingencies," Schlettwein noted.

He indicated Public Procurement Act should enable local economic development and participation in mainstream economic activity.

In February, Schlettwein issued a procurement directive under the Procurement Act for all public entities north of the cordon fence to procure meat, fresh produce, mahangu (pearl millet), beans, cereal and their by-products to levels and quality available locally.

Through partnerships, he called on the private sector to replicate this gesture.

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