Ondangwa-Despite the economic challenges and the government’s inability to cover additional costs for bigger projects, the Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze says the Kudu gas project remains an utmost imperative for a country on the verge of running adrift of supplying power.
Once operational, the Kudu gas-to-power project is expected to satisfy the entire country’s energy needs and should still have additional electricity left over to export to neighbouring countries.
Kandjoze, who described Namibia’s dependency on power from other countries as grimly pathetic, said it was time to cut the 60 percent dependency from other countries and subsequently cut the N$3.5 billion spent annually to source electricity, and divert it to other projects.
“I differentiate between the financial head space left today for the government to be able to take in anymore higher cost than it can – and that prime space occupied by these big projects is itself non-existent now, yet as the economy grows we need more megawatts.”
“If we still articulate the fact that we are in a headwind space now, and we want to bring a project that will require all sorts of financial backup now, we will run into the dark soon. It is absolutely important that there is a change in how we strategically look out to the imperative future and keep rolling the economy at a reasonable growth rate when we run adrift on the supply of power,” said Kandjoze.
The planned 885 MW Kudu gas-to-power project cost has ballooned.
Kandjoze made the remarks at the inauguration of the N$62 million Engen oil depot at Ondangwa on Friday.
The depot has a storage capacity of 1.6 million litres and will supply the northern regions.
The minister also announced there are plans for Namcor to set up another depot in the north.
He commended Engen for setting up the depot which is envisaged to ease shortages of fuel during peak months in the north.
Kandjoze said as the country strives towards freeing itself from fuel supply constrictions, the focus should be on ensuring that oil is distributed quickly and cheaply from port the moment it arrives.
The minister further encouraged Namibian petroleum franchises to take ownership of the sector.
He discouraged Namibians from being front-ups for foreign companies and allowing foreign dealers to replace each other when one of the dealers exits the Namibian market.
“I think that should not be the basis of partnership. The basis of partnership should be equitable dispensation where Namibians play a significant role in ownership of that business to exercise the first right of refusal,” said Kandjoze.
The managing director of Engen Namibia, Nangula Hamunyela, said the shortage of fuel in the north will soon be a thing of the past as the depot will be supplying fuel to at least 17 service stations.