OTJINENE – Vandalism, overloading and reckless driving along Namibian roads have resulted in the diversion of millions of dollars for road repair and paving, said Works and Transport Minister Errki Nghimtina on Friday.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the Gobabis-Otjinene road, Nghimtina said government has over the years injected huge amount of funds into unnecessary road repairs caused mainly by irresponsible behaviour – money that could have been spent better on other government projects.
He called on road users to use the road with care, as it is a national asset that needs to be inherited by future generations for decades to come.
“We should guard against vandalism, overloading and placing of unnecessary pressure on Namibian roads. Roads are expensive to construct, let alone repair due to negligence,” he noted.
Nghimtina said unlike in the developed world where governments service roads through the collection of environment taxes, transport taxes and user fees, Namibia does not have such “luxuries”.
He explained that Namibian roads are only serviced through the collection of mass distance charges, fuel levies and government appropriation to the line ministry.
“We would have liked to upgrade to bitumen standard all sand roads and gravel roads in the country, but we simply do not have the money to do that. As such, it is imperative that we preserve the little that we have.
Such responsibility should not be left on government alone, as we all can play a vital part in such a process,” the minister said.
Nghimtina noted that it costs government between N$3 million and N$4 million to construct a kilometre of tarred road (bitumen standard).
He said his ministry will soon work on setting up measures that will oblige those guilty of such vandalism and abuse to pay for their acts.
“We cannot let this go on any longer. We need to act now. As such my ministry will deliberate on appropriate measures to deal with the scenario,” he noted. – Nampa