NAMIBIA MAY NOT SWITCH TO WINTER TIME THIS YEAR

WINDHOEK, The Ministry of Home Affairs (Interior) and Immigration has announced that there may be no change to winter time change (daylight saving time) this year, once the Namibia Time Act of 2017 is passed.

The new law repeals the Namibia Time Act of 1994 to set the standard time of Namibia of two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (Co-ordinated Universal Time, or UTC).

The Cabinet in October 2015 approved that the ministry conduct public consultations on the Namibia Time Act of 1994, after some sectors raised concerns that the time change had adverse impact on their activities.

Tabling the Bill in the National Assembly (NA) Wednesday, the Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, said the argument used during consultations to reconsider the Namibia Time Act of 1994 was that the country's Zambezi Region (Province) was cut off completely when the rest of the country shifted to winter time.

"Certain sectors of our economy raised concerns that the time change impacts adversely on their activities, be it commercial, leisure or academic, and affects border posts as travellers have to wait for at least an hour for the border to open," Iivula-Ithana said.

Daylight saving time was introduced to mainly improve safety and accommodate school-going children, especially those in rural and informal settlement areas who walk to and from school in the dark during winter, which exposes them to crime.

Iivula-Ithana added that Namibia loses a lot of business as it operates outside normal business hours with the rest of the region, especially South Africa, which is an important trading partner.

One of the views received in favour of the current time change arrangement, however, was that Namibia?s energy peak time does not coincide with that of the region and energy utilities can easily access power from the region as peak hours are not aligned with those of other countries.

If the Bill is passed, it will commence before the first Sunday of April 2017.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK