Road sector: Live within your means

The Road Fund Administration (RFA) plans to spend scarce resources on fewer and more strategic roads.

23 November 2016 | Infrastructure

The board chairperson of the Road Fund Administration (RFA), Penda Ithindi, said the parastatal''s limited revenue collection streams call for a more innovative approach to secure additional funding and ultimate utilisation thereof.

“We have to balance what is needed in the economy and how best to optimise the use of our resources,” Ithindi commented, saying the road sector should live within its means and adhere to budgetary frameworks.

In this vein, he said over-commitment on budgets should be avoided as it erodes hard-won surplus buffers, and added that matters of overpricing on projects should be contained while optimum quality must be the objective.

“We should be seen to plan for the next 100 years,” he said.

Ithindi said the focus within the next five years is to spend scarce resources on fewer and more strategic roads.

The RFA is currently discussing its five-year strategic plan which has to be adapted to the fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) as far as transport, logistics and the entire road sector are concerned.

The RFA has collected close to N$2.12 billion over the last 12 months and spent N$1.84 billion on the road sector over the same period.

RFA chief executive officer Ali Ipinge said the parastatal''s financial position in the 2015/16 financial year, which ended at the end of March, had ended positively with a recorded surplus of N$277 million and a reduction in accumulated deficit from over N$550 million to a more manageable N$66 million.

Ipinde said the RFA had repaid its old loan stock of N$330 million, which matured in January.

“The settlement of its debt obligation has freed up much-needed cash to fund additional road-related maintenance projects,” Ipinde said yesterday at the RFA''s annual business plan stakeholders'' consultative conference.

A loan of N$447 million from the German bank kfW obtained in December last year had bolstered funding of the construction of the dual carriageway between Windhoek and Okahandja.

The RFA manages the Road Fund in which road user charges are accrued. Road Fund money is allocated to projects to maintain the national road network. Fund allocations are made to the Roads Authority (RA), as well as regional councils, local authorities and traffic law enforcement.

Ithindi said through funding to the RA progress has been made to reduce the backlog in the maintenance of tarred roads from 17% in 2012 to 9% currently through resealing which started four years ago.

This, however, came at the expense of proper maintenance of gravel roads, which have a recorded backlog of 70%. The RFA and RA have undertaken to dedicate funding for re-gravelling and maintenance on these roads.

Within the five-year strategic plan the RFA Act of 1999 will be amended to be in line with the Public Enterprises Governance Act of 2015.

A review of the operations of Natis and its associated eNatis system is to be done to localise services and improve service delivery to road users.

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