Massive developments are projected to take Tsumeb to greater heights as its rundown airport will be upgraded to international standards and there are plans to give upgrade a warehouse so that it serves as a medical production centre, where syringes will be packaged.
Copper mining and semi-processing have historically been the mainstay of Tsumeb.
Previously the airport belonged to TCL mine. It was offered to council but was not considered a priority at the time. About 10 years ago the town council realised there is a need for Tsumeb to have a port of entry as a way to develop and diversify its economy.
This was mentioned by Tsumeb chief executive officer (CEO) Alfeus Benjamin at a briefing meeting with Oshikoto Governor Henock Kankoshi, where different stakeholders updated the governor on development-related issues.
“It is for this reason we entered into a public-private partnership with a local company after acquiring the airport, following unsuccessful attempts by council to be rendered assistance from the business fraternity and government to invest in the airport,” he said.
“For many years now the airport was defunct and had only been used as a grazing ground for horses. The piece of land to be developed was purchased at N$250 000, in exchange for providing grazing land along the airport to the previous owner,” stated the CEO.
Benjamin sees this as a way of diversifying the town’s economy and a way of inviting investors to the town, whose backbone is copper-mining. The amount of money to be invested in the airport remains unknown though, askey players are still in negotiations.
“The airport will be taken over from council and its partner by government and put under the administration of the Namibia Airports Company to be upgraded to the standard that we want it to be. Hopefully, come next year you will not be landing at Hosea Kutako International airport,” enthused an optimistic Benjamin.
Furthermore, Benjamin informed the governor that they have already availed land for industrial purposes and that a medical supply centre is slated to be constructed this year. The centre will be used to supply medical equipment, such as syringes, that will be packaged here,” Benjamin stated.
He expressed concern though that such developments are normally delayed by the long period it takes to secure ministerial approval of capital projects, which can take at least two years to be approved.
“These laws should be changed, because the process is cumbersome. Imagine, it take takes sometimes two years to review and survey the land. In turn this delays the whole process,” the CEO said.