Transport sector hamstrung by funds

Chief Executive Officer of the roads Authority Conrad Lutombi says the transport sector is facing funding problems at a time when the country pushing to become a transport and logistics hub.
This comes after recent revelations by the Bank of Namibia that the country needs close to N$2billion to revamp the road network in time to tally with the developments at the port facilities.
Namibia wants to build a transport and logistics hub in a bid to tap into the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to rehabilitate and improve the road network system in Namibia by 2017.
Lutombi added that the transport sector is currently facing a challenge of shortage of funds to keep the existing network in a good condition and to develop it to high standards to be able to cater for all logistic needs.
 “We believe contribution is notable, however more needs to be done. The Roads Authority is one of the key role players in the transport sector that has an important role in the realization of the transport and Logistic hub as Integrated in the Transport Master Plan. The future and realization of Transport Master Plan is originating from the programme and activities as stipulated in the Medium to Long-term Road Master which is developed by the Roads Authority”.
He added that, the money is available on the market to shape the logistics hub, however the mandated organisation to secure funds for road infrastructure development is the Road Fund Administration (RFA) under the Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministry of Works and Transport.
With funding challenges the RA authorities is running against a 2017 deadline, where it is supposed to have achieved a well-functioning, high quality transport infrastructure connected to major local and regional markets all to be linked to the Port of Walvis Bay.
Road levies are collected from road users in eight categories, vehicle registration, annual licence fees and abnormal fees which are collected by roads authority, NATIS Feul levies are then collected by petroleum companies, and cross border charges are collected by Iroko Investments (Namibian border posts). Road users also pay Mass Distance, Locally Registered Vehicles and Foreign Registered Vehicle charges and these funds are collected by Iroko Investments and NATIS.
The Cross Border Charging system which is one of the effective ways for RFA to collect revenue from road users was implemented a decade ago, by means of a build-operate-transfer contract with Africon Namibia and Arti-Tech.
Between 2001 and 2003 close to 500 000 cross border permits were issued for Cross Border Chargers and over half of those were cancelled however close to N$60m of gross revenue was earned from the three year operations .
A 2004 report on the Cross Border Charge review, indicated that domestic road users generated over N$500m, indicating under recover of over N$400m compared to the N$900m which should have been recovered from domestic road users for new cross border charges.
Roads Authority says that currently, it has played a significant role in the development of the Transport Master Plan through the alignment and incorporation of its programmes and activities of the Roads Master Plans into the Transport Master Plan to contribute to the achievement of the Logistic Hub concept in the NDP4.
In a progress report by MVA and Automoblie Association earlier this year, the loss of lives in car accidents could be attributed to poor roads in across the country.
According to a 2012 report on Sustainable Asset Management System analysis on the Namibian Road Sector, an approximate amount of N$7b is need to replace only the top layers and bituminous surfacing of the paved road.
However a 206km stretch can be described as poor or very poor and requiring immediate rehabilitation. Then a further 497km is considered to be in a warning state and requiring attention in about half a decade. However 206 km can be described as “Poor” and “Very Poor”, requiring immediate

According to the analysis “bituminous surfacing is supposed to prevent moisture ingress into the pavement, to provide skid resistance and to protect the pavement structure from traffic wear”. The average life of this surfacing in a Southern African region is 1 to 15 years because of oxidation and hardening cause by the sun making them risky during the rainy season.