WINDHOEK – The Road Fund Administration (RFA) through the Road User Charges (RUCs) has invested a total of N$17.27 billion in the preservation of national roads network, which has grown from 42 100 kilometres since 2005 to 47 555 kilometres in 2018.
RFA Chief Executive Officer Ali Ipinge said this in the fund’s integrated annual report presented in Parliament on Tuesday.
Of the 47 555 kilometres of national road network, Ipinge said only 7 893 kilometres is of bitumen standard while 39 362 kilometres is gravel roads and 300 kilometres of salt roads.
“The funding for road infrastructure has also provided contractual employment to more 650 Namibians and sustained a number of local small and medium enterprises,” Ipinge said.
Between 2017 and 2018 alone, N$2.2 billion was availed for the preservation and development of Namibia’s road network of which N$1.7 billion was allocated to the national road sector and administration, the remaining half of a billion went to the local authorities, road safety and RFA administration.
The RFA has seen an annual growth of seven percent on revenue collected from road user charges and the amount can be equated to around N$154 million. Before 2017, the annual revenue growth year-on-year was approximately 15-percent, “the reduction which is a clear indication of a slowdown in the economy over the past two years,” he explained.
On the downside however, he said RFA fell short of reaching its budget for the financial year 2017/2018 by approximately one-percent, largely due to the sluggish economic environment which impacted all the road user charges.
“Less traffic on our roads contributed to a reduction in fuel consumption, resulting in revenue from fuel levies which constitute 60-percent of the total revenue to perform approximately one-percent under budget,” he added.
The first 87 kilometres of bitumen road between Mariental and Keetmashop will be rehabilitated with a loan facility of Euro 30 million (N$490 million) acquired by RFA from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), a German state-owned development bank. Ipinge also announced that an annual tariff increase of seven-percent was approved by the Ministry of Finance for the purposes of avoiding a potential revenue shortfall and also provide an assurance that roads remain well maintained and safe.
As a strategic direction, the RFA will increase their funding to Approved Authorities (AA) to 35-percent year-on-year. The AAs are Roads Authority, NaTIS, Road Traffic Inspectorate and some approved local authorities.
The RFA has also continued investing in its human capital in terms of skills development and training. In an employee satisfaction survey which was conducted by Deloitte, the parastatal scored 3.8 out of five. At least 30 houses were handed over to staff at border posts thereby boosting staff morale and increasing productivity.
Ipinge concluded that, innovative ways of maintaining roads that are cheaper than the current ones are opportunities that need to be explored.
2019-09-19 07:40:58 | 10 months ago