Military spending despite economic crisis

30 September 2019 | Economics

Despite the current economic woes, the ministry of defence's N$12 billion project to expand existing army bases and build new ones is in progress and is expected to be completed by early next year.

In 2014, the government approved a N$12 billion budget for the project to upgrade the Luiperdsvallei army base, renovate other bases countrywide, and build new army bases at Ondangwa, Mpacha, Keetmanshoop and Gobabis.

The project also includes the construction of a Walvis Bay naval base, an air force base at Karibib, the Oshivelo Army Battle School and a general military referral hospital.

The defence ministry is spending N$573 million on the construction of a new military base at Ondangwa by a Chinese company, China Jiangxi International. The renovation of the Oluno military base and Oshivelo Army Battle School will cost N$395 million. The NDF spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Petrus Shilumbu, refused to comment on how these projects are progressing, saying that defence projects are important to national security.

“Wait until such a time when we will be doing the inauguration then we will provide you will all the details,” said Shilumbu.





However, all these construction projects are listed in the Development Budget book for 2018-2021.

According to that document, the defence ministry is building a new base at Ondangwa and upgrading all bases annexed to Oluno military base.

The new base will be large enough to accommodate a battalion and will include barracks, officers' accommodation, quartermaster's stores, a kitchen with mess facilities and recreational facilities.

According to the report, the project started in October 2010 and expected to be completed by March next year. The kitchen has already been completed, while the construction of the office blocks and barracks is currently under way.

The Army Battle School (ABS) at Oshivelo is aimed at meeting the increasing demand for military training and providing NDF members with permanent structures, as they are currently living in temporary structures. The main components include a sick bay, a headquarters complex, a workshop, parking, barracks, quartermaster's stores, a kitchen, a mess and recreational facilities.

The construction work started in April 2008 and was expected to be completed by March next year.

The commandant's quarters and four classrooms have been completed and a borehole was drilled, but the commissioning of the borehole was put on hold when the project was suspended pending advice from the ministry of finance.

N$800 million was earmarked for the upgrading of the Luiperdsvallei military base.

The main components of the project include barracks, a clinic, officers' accommodation, a headquarters complex, quartermaster's stores, a kitchen with mess facilities, roads, bulk water supply, upgrading of power supply, earth works and recreational facilities.

Another N$800 million is being used for the construction of a military hospital at the old TB hospital in Khomasdal. The hospital will cater to members of the army, air force and navy, as well as VIPs and foreign dignitaries.

The construction of the Mpacha Military Base will cost N$545 million. The aim is to create necessary infrastructure to accommodate a battalion.

The N$241 million Keetmanshoop military base is aimed at creating infrastructure necessary to house a brigade. The project components will include construction of a new base, a fuel depot, an entrance gate, brigade and company headquarters, barracks for officers and troops, a kitchen and other support infrastructure.

At Gobabis, the NDF is spending N$551 million on constructing a new base that would accommodate a battalion. The main components of the project include barracks, officers' accommodation, quartermaster's stores, a kitchen with mess facilities, roads, bulk water supply, upgrading of power supply, earth works, a filtration plant and recreational facilities.

An amount of N$395 million is being spent at Walvis Bay on the construction of a naval base at the navy headquarters. The base will provide recreation facilities, barracks, a workshop building, officers' accommodation and an officers' mess with ablution facilities.

The air force headquarters at Karibib will cost N$348 million. The aim is to have an air base with adequate military infrastructure such as an air-traffic control tower, accommodation blocks, a clinic, road networks, a runway, recreation facilities, a kitchen and mess facilities.

The largest allocation of N$6.6 billion is for the construction of a military research and development centre in the Khomas Region.

The ministry also received a budget allocation of N$615 million to rehabilitate all military bases around the country. This includes barracks, officers' accommodation, stores and kitchens with mess facilities, dilapidated runways, airport aprons, and upgraded water, sewer and electrical systems.

ILENI NANDJATO

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