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Namibia: The Struggle to Light Up the North

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SOME 3 710 opportunities to have access to electricity have been created at the end of June last year, yet only 46% of these potential power connections have been realised.

This is according to the northern electricity distributor (Nored).

This means during this time the distributor could secure only 1 706 connections to the grid.

Sackey Kayone, Nored’s outgoing board chairperson, emphasised this during the distributor’s annual general meeting last week.

Nored has since 2015 approved an annual electrification budget of N$10 million for peri-urban areas as one of its corporate social investment initiatives.

By the end of last year, 13 electrification projects were completed at a cost of N$6,2 million across the region.

Six of these projects were rolled out in the Zambezi region, two in the Oshana and Okavango West regions, while the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions featured one project each.

Kunene region features only oneelectrification project at its Katutura settlement.

Kunene and neighbouring regions struggled to implement e-learning during last year’s lockdown period, with a large number of pupils unable to attend school due to a lack of access to electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

Kayone said the demand for electricity within the north-western, central-northern, and eastern regions has increased rapidly.

“During the period under review, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of applications for connections and payments of these projects,” he said.

The north-western area received 6 333 applications of which 3 705 were reviewed, while the north-eastern regions submitted 1 506 applications, which were all reviewed.

Additionally, 470 paid-up medium-voltage (MV) and 4 407 paid-up low-voltage (LV) connection applications were received in the 2019/20 financial year.

“However, I would like to bring to your attention that the annual electrification budget of N$10 million is not sufficient to meet the growing demand and the national electrification targets,” Kayone said.

He said the insufficient budget, and workforce, and the unavailability of construction materials are affecting the company’s delivery rate, as well as the implementation of various electrification projects.