Omuthiya – Government through the Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) is in the process of acquiring the underutilised Tsumeb airport, which has been for the past years owned by private individuals. A committee has been set up by Cabinet to spearhead the process, which is said to be at an advanced stage.
Tsumeb Municipality has compiled an assessment report to determine the value of investments which the investor it had partnered with committed to the project. It is upon this assessmen the committee is basing their negotiations on how much the investor can sell the airport to government.
The airport has one runway, which measures around 1 470 metres long and will be administered by the Namibian Airports Company (NAC), which will be responsible for its upgrade to international standards depending on the size of the airport and its specification.
Narrating this was the Chief Executive Officer of Tsumeb Alfeus Benjamin, who, however, would not divulge the value of the investment, saying it might jeopardise the ongoing negotiations.
“The committee is expected to report back to Cabinet soon, pending negotiations with the private investor. Therefore, at this point in time it will be premature to disclose the value of the investment. We are, however, as a council happy with the progress been made so far, because as a municipality it was difficult run such an entity with our constrained financial state,” Benjamin said.
He however did not disclose the investor’s name nor any further details.
The airport belonged to TCL mine before it was procured at a cost of N$250 000 by the municipality through a public-private partnership (PPP) treaty with a local investor, whereby they had agreed to jointly develop, administer and run the airport.
This was after the municipal council has realised the need for Tsumeb to have another port of entry as a way to develop and diversify its economy. The underutilised airport was at times used by the previous owners as a grazing field for horses.
Things later on turned sour as the municipality could not cope to meet with the financial need of the project. The investor has, however, made some significant investment through the establishment of a terminal, hangars and the provision of basic services, such as fuel and lubricants to clients landing at the airport.
“We are hopeful with our emerging market this development will attract more investors and uplift the town’s standards, as it will serve as a gateway to a lot of travellers proceeding to other destinations, which are inaccessible by air,” said an optimistic Benjamin.
The acquisition of the airport will bring to nine the number of airports controlled by government through the NAC.