Nakuumba still open to Angolan land deal

21 May 2019 | International

Local businessman Titus Nakuumba says he is still open to negotiating with government for the purchase of his land situated in Luanda's Polo Industrial Area.

Government, through the ministry of industrialisation, had intended to pay the property developer N$117 million for his land in Viana, which consists of a plot measuring 14 000 square metres and mini buildings on 20 000 square metres.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein asked the industrialisation ministry to abandon the property deal in June last year, saying no treasury approval was granted. According to him, procurement rules were also not followed.

The N$117 million deal would have included N$52 million for insurance cover. Government intended to create a business park consisting of offices, workshops, housing units and warehouses.

Nakuumba said this week that he was open to further engagements with government and said he was willing to conclude a deal that would be mutually beneficial to both parties.

“They asked for four years to pay off, I agreed. We can even give government eight or 10 years to pay off,” Nakuumba said.

He would not be drawn into answering whether the deal had completely been cancelled by government.

“We are willing to meet government if they are serious about this. Perhaps our brothers and sisters can find a place to trade their Namibian produce, as opposed to the current way of doing business in Angola of paying a year of rent upfront,” he said.

“The property is fit and ready for the purpose they want and this is confirmed also by the multi-ministry representatives that visited the property for evaluation.”

A high-ranking official in the industrialisation ministry said this week that government's intention to buy huge tracts of land as well as a building in neighbouring Angola would have resulted in a monumental flop.

The official made the comments when asked whether the ministry would in future revisit the Angolan land deal if the country's financial situation improves.

“The deal had to be called off. What will we do by investing that much money, to sell what in Angola?” the official, who preferred anonymity, said.

“We cannot invest so much, to sell what in the bundus? Officials were not informed of the deal.”

The official also likened the Angolan land deal to the acquisition of the Business and Intellectual Authority (Bipa) head office in Wanaheda, for which it paid an arm and a leg for.

According to the official, because Schlettwein had been both trade permanent secretary and deputy finance minister, he was aware that the Angolan land deal was not be feasible.

OGONE TLHAGE