Chinese Vehicles to Be Assembled Locally

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namibia Contract Haulage (NCH) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese automobile company FAW that will result in NCH selling and assembling Chinese vehicles locally. The agreement comes after NCH paid a visit to China towards the end of 2006 where several meetings were held between the two parties. FAW recognized that Namibia’s strategic location, political stability and its relations with other Southern African countries is an ideal gateway to Chinese enterprise seeking trade with the entire region, the signed document says. NCH will in the meantime act as FAW’s representative in Namibia. According to one of the directors at NCH, Elias Shanyengana, under the agreement Namibians can already place their orders for vehicles. Discussions are ongoing to determine when an assembling plant could become operational. The necessary arrangements to acquire 100 automobiles for the Namibian market have already been made. “This exercise is being implemented as a marketing tool in preparation for the envisaged assembling plant for the local and larger SADC market,” the document further states. The two parties might further engage in other mutually beneficial agreements given FAW’s Asian experience in road construction and property development sectors. FAW offers to provide the seeding capital for such projects. NCH is a subsidiary of Kalahari Holdings and the ruling party’s (Swapo) business arm. Founding President Sam Nujoma commended the two parties for the initiative saying this will go a long way in improving national and regional access to automotive commodities. “The initiative complements our government’s efforts to fast track the industrialization of our national economy and enhance the living standards of all Namibians,” Nujoma said, adding, “It is my sincere hope that this cooperation between NCH and FAW is but the beginning of a much greater private partnership sector cooperation between our two countries.” Meanwhile, long distance travellers across the country can say goodbye to uncomfortable small buses as the NCH introduces twelve of its newly acquired luxury coaches. Yesterday, the Chinese company FAW handed over 12 luxury buses and 10 tipper trucks to the NCH. The big buses with 60 seats and two small ones with 37 seats will start operating during the Easter weekend. According to the Chairperson of the Board at company, Teckla Lameck, the buses are just an addition to the 13 coaches commonly known as the Yellow buses currently operating in the Katima, Walvis Bay, Oshakati and Oranjemund routes, among others. She added that the new buses will also be rented out for tourist purposes in the SADC region. The tripper trucks, which she says, are in great demand especially in the construction industry will be rented out to the Roads Construction Company (RCC). While some members of the public are of the opinion that Chinese products are of cheap quality, Lameck says the purchased automobiles are of top quality.