WINDHOEK – Chairman of the TransNamib board of directors Paul Smit yesterday said it is general knowledge that aging infrastructure is TransNamib’s biggest challenge.
During the opening session in a meeting with Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa and senior ministerial officials, Smit specifically said aged rail infrastructure and an outdated rolling stock need urgent replacement to provide reliable and satisfactory services to businesses and the public.
At the long-awaited meeting with Mutorwa, which has been postponed on numerous occasions for a host of reasons, Smit emphasised that TransNamib staff needed a change of mindset. And, in agreement with the relatively new CEO Johny Smith, Smit said the parastatal will soon implement performance management agreements for staff as well as for the board. “We have to get the performance agreements in place from the bottom all the way to the top,” Smit told Mutorwa.
Earlier this year TransNamib proposed to retrench about 1 000 of its 1600 work force in line with its resizing exercise meant to reduce its massive monthly wage bill of N$40 million.
TransNamib’s annual report for 2013 indicates that its revenue decreased with 6,7 percent from N$565 million to N$527 million and operating expenses increased with 10 percent from N$474 million to N$522 million. The report also noted that the net loss in the same year jumped from N$67 million to N$183 million, while derailments caused damages worth more than N$65 million.
According to the same report, the parastatal’s railway network is about 100 years old while its aging and insufficient rolling stock has been unattainable. At the time this resulted in the company losing of N$183 million, of which N$86 million was spent on acquisition of rolling stock and N$4 million on non-revenue vehicles. N$6 million was used for cargo handling equipment.