National Council passes Time Bill in favour of summer time

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The National Council has passed several bills, including the much-debated Namibian Time Bill that will now see the country abandon the winter time switch in favour of summer time all year round.

National Council Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams yesterday announced that the House has passed the Namibian Time Bill without amendments, among other Bills.

President Hage Geingob is expected to sign the passed Bills into law in due course.
This means Namibia will now keep time with South Africa at GMT +2 hours and not switch to winter time.

The education ministry will now also allow individual schools to elect to change their starting and closing hours according to local circumstances, but only after consultation with learners’ parents.
The Namibian Time Bill 2017 was tabled by the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, in the National Assembly on February 22, 2017.

The Bill seeks to provide for the standard time of Namibia and repeal the Namibian Time Act of 1994.
During debates on the Bill, the National Assembly could not reach consensus, and subsequently referred the Bill to the committee for further scrutiny and public consultation.

During public consultation, the Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF) revealed that about 80 percent of the companies it engaged showed that workers were in favour of returning to GMT +2 hours all year round in line with South Africa and other countries in the region.

The old Namibian Time Act of 1994 states that during the summer period the time be set two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and then be shifted one hour ahead for the winter period.

The passing of the Bills follows the resumption of the National Council session on July 31, after the National Assembly has passed and referred them.

Other Bills that were passed include the Whistleblower Protection Bill (Bill No. 1 of 2017), which was passed without any amendments last week, the Lotteries Bill (Bill No. 5 of 2017) which was passed with amendments yesterday and the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Amendment Bill (Bill No. 6 of 2017) that was also passed yesterday without amendments.

One other is the Usury Amendment Bill (Bill No. 10 of 2017), which was passed without any amendments last week.
However, the Namibia Revenue Agency Bill (Bill No. 11 of 2017), Regional Councils Amendment Bill (Bill No. 23 of 2016), Local Authorities Amendment Bill (Bill No. 25 of 2016), the One-Stop Border Posts Bill (Bill No. 8 of 2017) are still at debate level at the committee stage and such discussion is expected to continue today in the House.

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