Govt coughs up N$58m to City

05 June 2018 | Government

Significant progress has been made in settling government municipal debt owed to the City of Windhoek, with about N$58 million having been paid to date.

By the end of December last year the City's debt book reflected N$80.9 million owed by government, but by the end of March this amount was reduced to N$22.38 million.

“This notable reduction is worth applauding and we count on your continuous, similar support,” said Khomas governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua during her State of the Region Address last week.

At the launch of the City's strategic plan for 2017 to 2022 in July last year, its debtors' book totalled N$500 million.

By the end of December 2017, the city was owed around N$634 million by government, private residents and businesses.

Government was among the major culprits, as it owed the City about N$80 million, while state-owned enterprises owed N$18.5 million. Some of the major culprits were the education ministry (N$24.7 million), the works ministry (N$15.9 million), the health ministry (N$13.1 million), the safety and security ministry (N$8.3 million) and the defence ministry (N$4.5 million). McLeod-Katjirua said the City is currently in the third quarter of the first year of its transformational strategic plan, which was launched on 14 July 2017.

“The first two years of a strategic plan typically set the base for the necessary turnaround strategies, with clear governance, financial rescue and strategic funding plans.”

Among the highlights the governor mentioned were efforts to convert conventional meters to prepaid ones for the top 500 defaulting pensioners.

This project was to have commenced last month.

She said addressing the town planning applications backlog and the completion of all building and compliance inspections, within 48 hours and 10 days respectively, have also been finalised.

McLeod-Katjirua also elaborated on the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan (SUTMP): The Move Windhoek project.

She said transport affects the daily lives of Windhoek's residents, especially in terms of commuting to and from work or accessing essential services. According to her, Windhoek and its neighbouring towns need a new approach to ensure efficient and coordinated sustainable urban transport.

“The existing challenges of urban transportation congestion, insufficient parking and the inadequate provision of public transportation are already measurable and on the increase.”

McLeod-Katjirua said on 11 May 2016 it was decided to first develop bus lines 1 and 2 to high operational standards and provide passenger information for these, before operationalising the other lines.

A total of seven new bus lines were implemented (lines 1, 2 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11) during the 2017/18 financial year

The City, in partnership with GIZ, procured 26 new buses in order to improve the capacity of resources for improved quality service delivery. Twenty-four buses have already been delivered and the remaining two will be delivered before the end of this month.

The new buses have already been deployed to service the newly introduced bus lines, which have extended the coverage to Okahandja Park and parts of Khomasdal and Dorado Park.

ELLANIE SMIT

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