Packed classrooms hamper learning

03 February 2017 | Infrastructure

The completion of several crucial capital projects is being hampered by the country's financial problems.

Agriculture minister John Mutorwa said during his annual policy statement that the multibillion-dollar Neckartal Dam was one of the affected projects.

He said because of the financial strains the country was facing, it was envisaged that the dam would only be completed this year.

Mutorwa said those who criticised the Neckartal project should keep in mind that there had been no large water infrastructure projects or new storage dams since before independence.

“At that time the population and the industrial development was not what it was today. The Neckartal Dam is important for the country. However, every time the government puts up infrastructure it is a waste of money.”

Mutorwa stressed that without new water infrastructure the country would not develop. “This we have seen with the drought.”

According to him the Neckartal Dam will transform the south of the country, even with all the problems it is experiencing.

He also said that it was time for the Erongo Region to start getting water from the sea. Mutorwa said the desalination project could not be postponed any longer. “We cannot start seeing factories and industries closing down.”

The ministry's deputy permanent secretary, Abraham Nehemia, said a sub-committee had been established under the Cabinet Committee on Water Supply Security that was primarily focusing on coastal water supply and the desalination plant.

He said the water usage by mines and towns were outgrowing the supply in the Erongo Region.

According to Nehemia the region's water consumption is 25 million cubic metres per year and the available water supply is only about 19 million cubic metres.

Preliminary studies on a desalination plant have already been done and consultants have been appointed to carry out a full feasibility study.

Mutorwa said the development of Green Scheme irrigation projects in the northern regions was also affected by government cutbacks.

Examples were the Zone in Kavango West, the Liselo project in Zambezi, the expansion of the existing Etunda Green Scheme in Omusati and the Kalimbezi National Rice Project in the Zambezi Region.

Other projects that will be affected are the Ongwediva National Agricultural Technology Centre, the Ondangwa Central Veterinary Laboratory Project, the Rundu Abattoir and Meat Processing Plant and the Uvungu-Vungu Dairy Project.

Mutorwa said some bigger projects must be tackled through public-private partnerships.

ELLANIE SMIT

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