Construction of the 264-km northern railway line extension project that started in the copper town of Tsumeb in 2001 stands at 90% progress, minister of works John Mutorwa has said.
Mutorwa, responding to questions posed in the National Assembly by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Johannes Martin regarding the progress made, said the remaining 10% left is for the completion of the outstanding components on the Ondangwa to Oshakati section as part of phase three.
He said this includes the construction of the Oshakati station buildings, platforms and civil works, procurement of railway materials (rails and ballast stone) and construction of the railway track.
"One of the delaying factors is the long time required by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) to approve bidding documents, adjudicated on the bids and affect the award of bids," Mutorwa told lawmakers on Thursday.
He explained that in 2017, the Public Procurement Act came into force, meaning procurement for large projects should have to go through the CPBN.
"In 2018, this ministry prepared and submitted standard bidding documents, including those for the construction of the Oshakati station building, platforms and civil works to the CPBN," he explained.
However, he said the construction of the Oshakati station building, platforms and civil works were only cleared for advertisement last year when the CPBN advertised in June last year.
"The CPBN was only able to constitute a bid evaluation committee to evaluate the bids in November last year - almost four months after the closure of bid," Mutorwa added.
Mutorwa says, as it stands, the ministry awaits award of bid by the CPBN - and as soon as that is done, work will commence in the next financial year after the award and if funds are appropriated.
Meanwhile, the construction of the 264-km northern railway line extension project phase one started in January 2001 and was completed in 2006.
Phase two of the project, covering 60km between Ondangwa and Oshikoto, commenced in June 2006 and was completed in January 2012.
Phase three of the project includes the 28km stretch between Ondangwa and Oshakati.
The construction of the earthworks has been implemented and the road-over-rail bridge between Ondangwa and Oshakati commenced in 2014, and it was completed in 2016 and 2017.