Oshikango Dry Port At Aanced Stage

IN the northern border town of Oshikango, plans to construct a dry port to store exported goods, are steadily moving forward. Once constructed, the dry port will act as storage for containers and bulk goods for the export market, a development which would help increase trade between Namibia and Angola.

Assigned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Offshore Development Company (ODC) is implementing the development in Oshikango. Speaking to The Namibian, Phillip Namundjebo from the ODC said the project was at an ‘aanced stage.’

Improving the infrastructure in Oshikango is designed to make the business environment more conducive, which is just one solution that has been identified to boost trade. A committee composed of officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Bank of Namibia, University of Namibia, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Helao Nafidi Town Council and the ODC, has been established to address impediments to trade in the border town. Along with lagging infrastructure, the other primary restrictions identified by the committee were currency complications and a lack of incentives such as free zone areas.

Although Angola’s national currency, the kwanza, is not legal tender in Namibia, Angola has historically also been using the US dollar as currency which is legal in Oshikango. However, with the recent decline of Angolan businesses using the US dollar, there have been repercussions in the border town, with a few Namibian businesses claiming trade has been reduced as a result. To resolve these restrictions, Namundjebo said “[Committee] members have been and are still consulting the northern neighbouring country on the issue of currency.”

Government involvement in Oshikango has regularly been viewed poorly, with levied taxes blamed for a decline in business during 2012 and 2013. Yet, this discontent is not universal. Local businessman Diamond Bhanji from Ezzy Import and Export Oshikango is satisfied with progress in the town. “You can’t just blame the government for taxes” he said. “They are allowing development to happen, but it’s the bureaucracy that is slow. You can’t expect change immediately.”

Angola’s economy has been growing rapidly in recent years, allowing the country to diversify its imports and rely less on Oshikango. However, with the committee’s proposals in place to reduce impediments, development is occurring to improve prospects. For Bhanji, there are still opportunities in the border town, “Government is providing us with a conducive environment,” he says.

Source : The Namibian