Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, has cautioned that while there is a lack of funds for many important projects, particularly as the country faces the daunting challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is no excuse for the dilapidation of crucial infrastructure.
Mutorwa made these remarks last week Friday when he inspected the N$25 million rehabilitation work, expected to take about three months, on the Eros Airport runway, which had exceeded its design life of 25 years.
“While we appreciate the fact that money is not everywhere, particularly during the pandemic, this does not mean we should relax and allow our infrastructure to deteriorate any further,” said Mutorwa when inspecting the runway work along with CEO of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Bisey /Uirab, and NAC Board Chairman, Leake Hangala.
“Let us plan together to find the resources to complete what needs to be completed,” said Mutorwa.
He emphasised the importance of Namibia’s airports, roads and ports, particularly at a time of Africa’s increased economic integration, where Namibia projects its image as a gateway from its harbour to other parts of Africa, thereby facilitating trade. Said Mutorwa: “That is how important these projects are.”
Before the rehabilitation work commenced the NAC had resorted to daily inspections of Eros Airport runway which had developed potholes which raised concern by pilots when landing and taking off. The rehabilitation is expected to add an additional three to four years to the lifespan of the runway.
Long-term rehabilitation work for the airport includes the widening and lengthening of the existing runway, which will require capital funding from the Ministry of Works and Transport.
At last week’s inspection, Mutorwa also expressed concern about what he calls collusion between the consultants and officials as managers of the projects, at the expense of the contractors.
“I have seen it at some projects, including Fonteintjie. What happens is that these people will collude to make the life of the contractor unbearable in terms of evaluating the work.
The consultant is actually someone who is appointed to advise the contractor and not only to punish.
But sometimes the consultants are seen as our bosses. That perception is there and we have to fight it,” said Mutorwa.
Meanwhile, NAC’s /Uirab admitted that some of the country’s airports are in a state that is not very safe for flight operations.
“It is certainly part of our plans also to rehabilitate the Toivo ya Toivo (Ondangwa) and Epacha (Katima Mulilo) airports,” said /Uirab.
2020-09-15 11:09:33 | 11 days ago