Parliament needs N$15m for security upgrades

TOO EXPOSED … Parliament needs funding to tackle security issues arising from unregulated entry at its premises. Photo: File

Parliament needs N$15 million to address security challenges of uncontrolled access at the entrance of the parliament building.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises earmarked this amount for the 2023/24 fiscal year, but the funds were redirected to address other pressing national priorities.

Parliament is currently finalising specifications and procurement processes, aiming to secure the necessary funds in the 2024/25 financial year.

“This is done in good faith with the assurance that the same amount of funds will be made available in the 2024/25 financial year for the project to commence in quarter one of the 2024/25 financial year moving forward,” parliament spokesperson Sakeus Kadhikwa said.

The security upgrades, with the help of the Namibian Police, will protect the buildings 24/7.

Kadhikwa said there is security lapse in the shared precincts of parliament, which also accommodate the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

“The current situation is that everyone can enter these premises at any time by vehicle or walking from the main southern entrance opposite the Independence Memorial Museum through 14C Love Street, all the way to the northern entrance near the circle of St George’s Diocesan School,” Kadhikwa said.

He said these institutions are critical to the effective functioning of the state and are classified as national key points.

To justify the N$15 million budget, Kadhikwa clarified that the Ministry of Works and Transport, with technical support from the National Heritage Council, finalised the architecture and cost estimate.

The Central Procurement Board of Namibia will handle the tender process and construction is anticipated in the 2024/25 and 2025/26 financial years.

During the recent midterm budget review, Popular Democratic Movement parliamentarian Elma Dienda raised questions about the allocated budget.

Dienda stressed the importance of thoroughly examining the justifications and budgeting processes, probing into the specific features and requirements that validate the high cost.

“It raises questions about the specific features and requirements that justify such a high cost, including whether these security upgrades are intended to incorporate advanced technologies or specialised designs that significantly elevate their cost,” Dienda said.

Dienda underscored the need for transparency in decision-making mechanisms and criteria, urging detailed comparative analyses or benchmarks against similar security projects.

“This leads to the critical issue of whether a comprehensive feasibility study was completed prior to the allocation of funds. Such a study is essential to assess the practicality and financial viability of the project, ensuring that the investment is justified in terms of effectiveness and cost efficiency,” Dienda said.

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