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Covid-19 scuttles part of coastal rail project

The Walvis-bay to Arandis rail project is yet to start long after the tender was granted to a foreign contractor, the director of rail infrastructure management at the works and transport ministry Robert Kalomho.
Ahead of the granting of the tenders on this project, it was understood that about 30% these projects would be funded through a N$10 billion loan facility from the African Development Bank while GRN was expected to pump in $3.3 billion.
Around the tendering time, concerns had also been raised that the government had favoured Chinese companies.
But Covid-19 landing on Namibian shoals, part of the project has been affected.
“They wanted to do the jobs themselves but at the time they were just about to say let’s start looking for personnel to help with the set up then the whole Covid-19 pandemic started. So, they gave a notice that they cannot perform. We asked them to find ways to mitigate, if they cannot bring in people from outside then they must start recruiting locally. So, they have now done so, they have got some of the key personnel some they did not get.
They were trying to get some sub-contractors from South Africa but it is proving difficult so they are now currently negotiating with local sub-contractors to assist them with work. They have started with the camp establishment and they will only do something of note in three months’ time,” said Kalomho.
He said the contractors could not establish fully.
“The one of Arandis-Kransburg, they have established camp, they have put up a campsite, they started with material mobilization meaning they are bringing in sleepers already from Tsumeb to Kransburg, ballast from Karibib, also to Kransburg, so they are beginning o move, however, they are faced with a challenge, the sub-contractor which they tendered with from South Africa, and they are struggling to bring I personnel.
“The equipment is not so much of a problem but in terms of bringing in the personnel, it is proving to be a challenge. We have of course supported them by writing letters of support to the ministry of home affairs so that one is moving. \they started with recruitment so something is happening,” he said.
The project has three components comprising the supply of goods which has progressed well with 20 000t of rail having been brought in and being laid down in Walvis Bay, Arandis and Usakos and is about 93% complete.
This was disclosed by Kalomho.
The two other components comprise upgrades which have been divided into packages, one from Walvis Bay to Arandis which is going to one contractor, and from Arandis to Kransburg which is going to another contractor.
Kalomho said the Arandis to Kransburg has proceeded somewhat better compared to the Walvis Bay-Arandis project due to Covid-19.

Julia Heita

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