WINDHOEK – Road accidents are costing the country’s economy N$1.3 billion, says Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa. This was according to a study commissioned in 2016 by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and carried out by audit firm Ernst and Young.
Introducing the Rectification of the African Road Safety Charter and seeking approval of the Rectification of the Charter to Members of Parliament on Tuesday, Mutorwa said based on the 2017 figures, the country records about 700 fatalities and more than 5000 injuries per year.
He said these figures give the country a per capita rate of road fatalities of above the continental average of 26.
Mutorwa said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO 2017), Namibia’s death rate due to road traffic accidents has reached 3.76 percent of the country’s total deaths, with the adjustable death rate standing at 27.96.1.
He said on the strength of these figures, Namibia is ranked 45th in the whole world.
Mutorwa added that out of the list of 50 causes of death, road accident fatalities are ranked at number eight.
“In this time of scarcity, these funds could have been put to good use.
The road transport subsector is, without any shed of hesitation, essential to the country’s drive to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity,” he said.
He said transportation provides extended access to jobs, education and healthcare and it also connect goods and services to markets and is a key driver of growth especially here in Africa where 90 percent of people and goods are moved by road.
“Given the above factors, we cannot be complacent in our efforts to find a lasting solution to our road safety problem or our quest of improving our people’s living standard may dismally fail to yield the desired results,” he said.
“With the current rate at which both the vehicle and human population is increasing, these figures are bound to increase to levels that may overtake the number of coronary heart disease-related deaths in the country.”
Mutorwa said it is common knowledge and an undisputed fact that the current fatality rate is placing a substantial burden on the country’s limited financial capacity, health care and social systems.
According to Mutorwa, Article 6 of our constitution places the responsibility to protect human life on the state, therefore, it is pursuant to this legal obligation that the Works Ministry deemed it necessary for Namibia to accede to the African Road Safety Charter.
He said doing so would provide a conducive policy environment for the drafting of a new road safety legislation that will repeal and replace the outdated and archaic National Road Safety Act 9 of 1972, which, by the way, became applicable to independent Namibia by virtue of Article 140 (1) of the Namibian Constitution.
He said the main objective of the Charter is to serve as Africa’s principal policy framework on road safety and an instrument for the creation of an enabling environment for the improvement of road safety on the continent.
He said ratification of the charter will among others ensure the realisation of the formulation of comprehensive road safety policies and laws at country and continental levels; speedy and effective implementation of national, regional and continental road safety programmes.
Also, he said, the ratification of the charter will ensure improved governance and structured coordination of road safety work at country, regional and continent levels; foster better coordination and involvement of development partners in the country and continent’s road safety interventions.
2018-11-22 09:32:26 24 days ago