The Keetmanshoop municipality will be targeting making improvements on its electricity network infrastructure, bulk service provision and maintaining water and electricity availability to its customers during the 2023/2024 financial year.
The municipality tabled a budget amounting to N$296,8 million to community members this week, after receiving approval from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (Murd).
Keetmanshoop mayor McDonald Hanse said council has budgeted for N$120,4 million to be spent on electricity, which translates to 42,2% of the entire budget, but that there is a need for an additional N$11,9 million required for the upgrading of electricity infrastructure.
Hanse said N$79,9 million has been set aside for salaries, translating to 27% of the budget, while the remainder will mostly be spent on trading services, including water and electricity supply.
“This budget includes a N$5,8 million allocation from the central government, which will be used for bulk infrastructure services. We can see a clear increase in this N$296,8 million budget by 13,8% compared to the N$255 million 2022/2023 financial budget,” said Hanse.
However, for the additional N$11,9, the Keetmanshoop municipality has applied to the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) to upgrade its electricity infrastructure.
Keetmanshoop Electricity Business Unit (Kebu) manager Khoetage Dax said DBN has approved the loan, pending ministerial approval.
“The loan will be repaid over a period of 10 years. For the DBN loan, we made an application for N$12,9 million to tackle some of the capital projects for Kebu, and we got approval from DBN for N$11,9 million, but then we still need line ministerial approval from finance and the Murd.
“This loan will be spread over 10 years with an affordable repayment period for Kebu, so it is built into the tariff as well,” said Dax.
Dax highlighted that the loan money will be spent on LED lighting retrofits and high-musk lighting projects, as well as the installation of a smart meter system to minimise power outages and curb the illegal bypassing of electricity.
“The Electricity Control Board also said we have to implement some power quality systems, so we are busy implementing those, so power quality is basically just as you have with water; your water needs a certain level of quality. So, that’s the same with electricity; if the quality is not good, some of the electronics will not function, so those are some of the things that we are trying to do with the loan, so hopefully when we get the approval we can kick-off with those projects.”
The Keetmanshoop municipal council announced a month ago that the municipality will be suspending unpaid water and electricity accounts of businesses, government offices and other institutions that fail to settle their long outstanding bills by 6 November.
Acting chief executive Lee Mwemba said the accrued debt of over N$85 million owed by these organisations for water, electricity and rates and taxes, threatens the future sustainability of Keetmanshoop and service delivery, therefore, the municipality opted for an aggressive method.
“Through this exercise, the council recovered close to N$20 million in accrued debt. The good thing for us is that we do not owe NamPower one cent but we owe NamWater about N$32 million, which we still have to settle,” said Mwemba.
The strategy included suspending water and electricity, first to government institutions, businesses and institutions, followed by council members and staff of the municipality, and lastly residential erven.
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –