Rural Electrification Sidelines Kunene

Newly-appointed Governor of the Kunene Region, Angelika Muharukua, says the far north-western region is yet to benefit from rural electrification as most government institutions remain without power 25 years down the line.

Although during 201314 about 46 localities including formal and informal business centres in rural areas have benefited from the annual grid rural electrification projects, including the installation of transformers, only four “public institutions” were electrified with containerised solar systems in Kunene.

These were three primary schools and a clinic among other projects such as police offices and agricultural development centres.

In an interview with New Era, Muharukua said: “Kunene is marginalized all the time. The electricity coming from Ruacana via Etoto, those people have not benefited. People in Okahozu and Okaupaue were also supposed to benefit but they did not. There is a need for rural electrification in the region. Most people here are not enjoying the cake of Namibia, only a few have benefited.”

Epupa gets electricity from Okanguati but no villager has benefited.

“We have a clinics like Etanga and Otjondeka but they have not benefited. Kunene is still in need of rural electrification. Most schools are not electrified, only a few are,” stated Muharukua.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy in its annual report for 201314 says N$45 million was budgeted for rural electrification while N$40 million was budgeted for the upgrading of sub-stations. Regional electricity distributors (REDs) implemented the projects on behalf of the ministry.

However, the same report justified that Namibia has a shortage of qualified and adequately experienced contractors at present, and it is difficult to attract experienced contractors into regions such as Kavango, Karas, Hardap and Zambezi, among other areas.

In this regard, the report suggested tender exemptions are required to allow reputable and experienced contracting companies to be approached to provide quotations and thereby fast track project implementation.

“It takes contractors two to three months to receive equipment, and long waiting periods are therefore experienced,” the report stated.

Source : New Era