20 percent budget cut won’t deter Roads Authority

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Edgar Brandt

Windhoek-Even though the total budgetary allocation for the Roads Authority (RA) during the 2017/18 financial year is almost 20 percent less than it received the previous year, it will continue with massive upgrading works and ongoing maintenance of the country’s roads.

In the latest National Budget the RA was allocated just over N$2,7 billion, compared to about N$3,3 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.

According to RA spokesperson Hileni Fillemon, the RA has budgeted an amount of N$940,562,000 for road construction (bitumen and gravel projects) and more than N$1,24 billion for road maintenance, respectively, in the current financial year.

“It is common knowledge that good roads are vital to the future of our communities in rural areas. However, in a larger sense, good roads are about people, jobs and an investment in a better quality of life, because they guarantee fewer hours in traffic and promote road safety. With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that the demand for roads is big in our country,” said RA chairperson Hileni Kaifanua, during a recent event in Otjozondjupa Region.

While admitting that the economic slowdown has impacted on the RA’s performance in terms of the delivery of projects, Kaifanua added that the RA would continue to deliver on its mandate, by optimally utilising its financial resources and by focusing its attention on activities that create value for its operations.

“The Roads Authority has made noteworthy strides in expanding our road network in our efforts to achieve the sub-vision and goals for transport in, as set out in Vision 2030. The provision of safe and efficient roads is an essential part of our country’s socio-economic development strategy, in which the RA continuous to play a vital role.

“The Authority has built major regional roads and created links with all neighbouring countries, in line with Namibia’s national development plans. The expansion of the road network has already started to bear fruit, as many of the communities in Namibia have access to and are able to sell their products to major urban centres within the country and beyond,” Kaifanua remarked.

During the last financial year, the RA spent a total of N$2.4 billion on construction and maintenance projects from a budget of N$2.5 billion. This represents an expenditure of 95 percent of the allocated budget.

“All expenditure was done from the approved revised budget provisions from the government and Road Fund Administration (RFA) for 2016-2017 financial year,” Fillemon noted.

During the 2017/18 financial year the Roads Authority will continue with the construction of the following capital projects:

• The upgrading to bitumen standard of the Grootfontein–Okamatapati road
• The upgrading to bitumen standard of the Gobabis–Aminius–Aranos road.
• The upgrading to bitumen standard of the Oranjemund – Rosh Pinah road.
• The upgrading to bitumen standard of the Oshakati–Ongenga road.
• The upgrading to bitumen standard of the Onhuno–Okatana road.
• Section 4a of the Windhoek–Okahandja road upgrade to a dual carriageway.
• Phase 1 of the Windhoek–Hosea Kutako International Airport road upgrade.
• Phase 1 of the Swakopmund–Walvis Bay road upgrade.
• Phase 1 of the Swakopmund–Henties Bay road upgrade.
In addition, detailed designs for the following projects are expected to be completed this year, with construction to commence once funds are available:
• Karibib–Usakos–Swakopmund road upgrade to a 2+1 cross-section.
• Omuthiya–Ongwediva road upgrade to a dual road carriageway.

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