ONDANGWA – The Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Sankwasa James Sankwasa, officially launched the master plan for sustainable transport in the northern regions, namely Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena.
Dr Cedric Limbo, the Director of Transportation Policy and Regulation in the Ministry of Works and Transport, revealed that the overall aim of the master plan is to address the challenges in the transport sector in these regions to allow decision-makers to develop an affordable, accessible, attractive and efficient transport system over the next 20 years.
Its implementation comes two years after cabinet approval of the plan on May 31, 2017.
Limbo said that for the next 20 years, the master plan budget is estimated at N$12.8 million, including for the already budgeted dual carriage from Omuthiya to Oshakati by the Roads Authority (RA) that will gobble up N$5.1 million. The sum of N$6.9 million is the estimation not yet budgeted for by RA, which is earmarked for the new large road infrastructure projects that will cover the Tsumeb-Omuthiya and Ondangwa-Oshikango dual carriageways.
Sankwasa in his keynote address said the vastness of the country has prompted the optimisation of transport as a key to access basic necessities.
He said the plan is an enabler that allows people to get to work, shops, medical services and above all, it will create jobs. Transport also brings products to shops or medical services to people.
Quoting Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution that says all Namibians have a right to fair and reasonable access to facilities and services, he stressed the ministry’s commitment to modern transport initiatives to provide reliable infrastructure as well as a system that is critical to high and standard, sustained economic growth.
This master plan considers how transport services and infrastructure can realise Namibia’s economic, social and environmental development goals over the next 20 years.
Special attention is given to the role the Namibian transport sector plays in the regional economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa, while at the same time seeking to improve the quality of life and the standard of living of all Namibians, both in rural and urban areas.
Referring to the northern regions’ current transport stress caused by economy and population growth, he said he deems it fit to implement the plan to offer effective transport services in terms of routes, frequency, travel duration and tariffs corresponding to demand.
The vision of the master plan is further to develop a regional and inter-regional transport system that connects all residents at all places, supports both rural and urban development while at the same time mitigating the impact of rural-urban migration. It’s seen also as a strong asset that will promote trade between Namibia and neighbouring countries.
The full implementation of the transport master plan is in the hands of the executive directors of the ministries of works and transport, and urban and rural development, as well as chief regional officers and CEOs of regional councils and local authorities.
The master plan has the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, through the transport, mobility, logistics project that is being implemented by GIZ.