Nujoma hails rails as boon to jobseekers

Nujoma hails rails as boon to jobseekers

A FIRST batch of more than 3 000 rails for the Northern Railway Extension Project was offloaded at the Walvis Bay harbour yesterday with President Sam Nujoma keeping an eye on proceedings.

The event was marked with an official ceremony and speeches attended by a large contingent of politicians, including Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, Government officials, and members of the diplomatic corps. All the speakers highlighted the important role the railway line from Tsumeb to Oshikango is expected to play in increasing trade and bringing economic benefits to the country.President Nujoma said the extended rail network would further raise Namibia’s status as the gateway to the SADC region, as it would link up with the Angolan railway network at a point near Kasinga-Chamutete.The President also mentioned the venture’s role in job creation.”A deliberate decision was made to utilise labour-based techniques in the construction of the railway in order to create the maximum number of employment opportunities,” he said.He said 10 450 people had been employed on the project since its inception, while many citizens had volunteered to work on the project in their free time.”I would like to commend all our people who share our vision of completing the railway extension project on time,” he said, calling on more Namibians to do volunteer work on the line.According to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Moses Amweelo, the initial phase of the project – linking Tsumeb to Ondangwa by rail – is projected to cost about N$845 million.The distance covered by this section of line is 246,5 km.The first batch of 3 662 rails which arrived at Walvis Bay yesterday weighed more than 6 000 tonnes and cost almost US$15 million (N$99 million).The total consignment of rails will be 25 000 tonnes.Amweelo said this phase was co-financed by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (US$4,9 million) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (US$8,96 million), with the Government contributing US$1,1 million (N$7,26 million).The rails were manufactured by Lucchini, a company based at Piambino, on Italy’s west coast.The transport of the rails from Walvis Bay to Tsumeb, a distance of 602 km, will be carried out by TransNamib.John Shaetonhodi, CEO of the parastatal, said the train would travel at a maximum speed of 40 km/h and take 17 hours to complete the journey.With two trains departing every week carrying 934 tonnes, it will take approximately 27 weeks to convey the full 25 000-tonne consignment.All the speakers highlighted the important role the railway line from Tsumeb to Oshikango is expected to play in increasing trade and bringing economic benefits to the country. President Nujoma said the extended rail network would further raise Namibia’s status as the gateway to the SADC region, as it would link up with the Angolan railway network at a point near Kasinga-Chamutete. The President also mentioned the venture’s role in job creation. “A deliberate decision was made to utilise labour-based techniques in the construction of the railway in order to create the maximum number of employment opportunities,” he said. He said 10 450 people had been employed on the project since its inception, while many citizens had volunteered to work on the project in their free time. “I would like to commend all our people who share our vision of completing the railway extension project on time,” he said, calling on more Namibians to do volunteer work on the line. According to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Moses Amweelo, the initial phase of the project – linking Tsumeb to Ondangwa by rail – is projected to cost about N$845 million. The distance covered by this section of line is 246,5 km. The first batch of 3 662 rails which arrived at Walvis Bay yesterday weighed more than 6 000 tonnes and cost almost US$15 million (N$99 million). The total consignment of rails will be 25 000 tonnes. Amweelo said this phase was co-financed by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (US$4,9 million) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (US$8,96 million), with the Government contributing US$1,1 million (N$7,26 million). The rails were manufactured by Lucchini, a company based at Piambino, on Italy’s west coast. The transport of the rails from Walvis Bay to Tsumeb, a distance of 602 km, will be carried out by TransNamib. John Shaetonhodi, CEO of the parastatal, said the train would travel at a maximum speed of 40 km/h and take 17 hours to complete the journey. With two trains departing every week carrying 934 tonnes, it will take approximately 27 weeks to convey the full 25 000-tonne consignment.

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