TransNamib signs N$2,6 billion loan

Desmond van Jaarsveld

TransNamib finally signed a N$2,6 billion loan agreement with the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) after almost three years since the announcement.

TransNamib, Namibia’s national railway company, was required to meet certain conditions before the loan agreement could be signed by both parties.

Speaking during the Public Enterprises Forum in Windhoek this week, TransNamib chief executive Desmond van Jaarsveld said the loan will go towards purchasing locomotives and multipurpose wagons.

“We have just secured funding which is a N$2,6 billion investment that will be used for the much needed locomotives and multipurpose wagons,” said van Jaarsveld.

The loan is part of an N$8 billion pledge made by the DBN and DBSA towards infrastructure development in Namibia in 2019 during an investment summit in Windhoek.

He said the procurement of the locomotives will take place soon.

“There is a lead time of 24 months. We are working on a 24-month interim solution enlisting additional locomotives,” said van Jaarsveld.

TransNamib plans to repay the loan within five years through improved efficiency and an increased customer base.

Van Jaarsveld said there has to be an increase in the contribution of railways to Namibia’s fuel transport needs.

“Currently, TransNamib only transports 14% of the total fuel requirements in Namibia and that needs to be increased,” he said.

He added that the country has to work at integrating roads and railway transport systems.

“In Namibia alone we need to focus on regional integration and rail needs to work with rail transport,” said Van Jaarsveld.

According to him, the company recently received a tender from a mining company to provide railway and road solutions.

“We are using SMEs to provide the road transport solution,” said Van Jaarsveld.

Also speaking at the forum, Louise Shixwameni, deputy executive director at the ministry of public enterprises, said over the years, more investments have gone into road infrastructure, neglecting railways.

“Namibia is the only country that is lagging behind with railway infrastructure,” said Shixwameni.

She said the country does not need to find ways to fund railway development because that will take the country’s whole budget.

Roads Authority chief executive Conrad Lutombi says Namibia has done well in terms of regional integration, as the country is linked to all the Sadc regions with its economic corridors.

However, there is still work that needs to be done when it comes to linking constituencies

“We have a huge responsibility to reach all the corners of this country. There is still a problem to link constituencies to the traffic economic belt of the country,” says Lutombi.

He says to make sure that those in rural areas are participating in the development of the country, there needs to be linkages.

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