By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Yesterday the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) granted a N$15 million loan to Central North Electricity Distribution Company. The money would help CENORED in its business operations. The utility only started operating in October 2005. CENORED’s Chief Executive Officer Appolus Mburumba says the loan is extremely important especially that there is a great need to supply electricity to far and small towns in the country. However, the financial needs of CENORED are not limited to the N$15 million as currently 52 per cent of people have access to electricity while the 48 per cent are still in need. “Within the next two to three years, we will come back to DBN and say, there is need to expand the market,” said Mburumba. With this amount, the utility will further invest in a customer base. That in practice means installing 6 000 state-of-the-art pre-paid meters. At present, there are 2 000 pre-paid meters in areas such as Grootfontein, Kamanjab, Khorixas, Okakarara, Otavi, Otjiwarongo, Outjo and Tsumeb. If the issue of lack of funds is addressed, Mburumba indicated, CENORED would be interested in improving electricity in areas such as Ovitoto, Otjinene, and Okamatapati. “We want to make sure that people from these areas can also access electricity,” he stated. Emphasising that CENORED is a customer focused company, the CEO said the entity together with the Ministry of Mines and Energy are looking into expanding their services to places such as Tsumkwe. “We are looking into solar/diesel electrification and this would cost about N$12 million,” he said. To ensure that the money is invested in something for the collective good, the Chief Executive Officer of DBN David Nuyoma stated that the signing of the deal was a result of a protracted process that involved scrutiny of CENORED’s business plan in accordance with a set of modules that considered the company’s economic viability and financial sustaina-bility, among others things. Last year, DBN announced the disbursing of loans. Among other considerations, approval loans depend on transparency, professionalism, sustainability and innovation, said Nuyoma. The establishment of Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs) throughout Namibia is geared towards assisting especially smaller struggling municipalities in the country, through which they stand to benefit from the shared technical support, capacity building as well as the much needed revenue to keep afloat. In an effort to ensure a sustainable and efficient electricity distribution industry in Namibia, government together with the Electricity Control Board (ECB) has established REDs, some of which are already operational.
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