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Austrian Investors land in Namibia for N$1 billion-dollar hospital project

Fri, 28 April 2017 15:38
by Kelvin Chiringa
News Flash

Health Minister Bernard Haufiku has said his quest to woo investors to Namibia for a N$1 billion state of the art hospital is now on course with Austrian investors having visited Namibia last week for business.

“Some of the investors have paid a visit to Namibia already, this time it’s an Austrian company that build hospitals in Germany and Austria. Their representatives were here two days ago (Wednesday the 19th),” said Haufiku. The representatives whose company Haufiku could not reveal are said to have met with the Ministry of Finance’s PPP unit while they also had a closed door meeting with the Health Ministry to begin to clear the talks around the execution of the project in the north.

“We hope this will bear fruit because we want to put a second tertiary hospital in the north which now replaces a district hospital originally planned for Ondangwa. So instead of that we want to build a Windhoek Central Hospital type of referral hospital or even something bigger,” said the Minister.

The Health Ministry is looking at setting up a 900 to 1200 beds state of the arts hospital and meanwhile Haufiku said besides the Austrians there is a significant number of other international companies set to bid for the project tender. “It’s not only the Austrians who came, the companies are many, they have not yet been allocated, and they are only consulting with us. They will still have to publicly bid for the tender in a transparent manner.

“We are ready to open up for any company that shows interest. We tell them, come and look at what we have, if you want to fl y to the north you go, if you want to have a look at the central hospital you do so and if you have questions related to the processes we are ready to answer you,” he said Meanwhile, government is starting another regional hospital project in Otjiwarongo and Haufiku has urged interested international companies to arrange themselves and amalgamate with local partners. With the government operating on a tight budget, the referral hospital project will be financed via a Public Private Partnership arrangement, Haufiku also told The Villager.

“The good thing is that we are using their money not our money, the only thing is that we will have enough time to pay their investment over a period of time, maybe 10 to 15 years. Some of the companies are eve willing to go up to 20 years. Interest-wise, most of these companies are under 5 percent which is very low,” said Haufiku. If commenced, the project will go a long way to create opportunities of employment from its first to last phase while many local health experts will take over its administration.

“You have to look at the staff compliment of Windhoek Central Hospital and maybe add 20 to 30 percent to that. There will be a lot of employment opportunities we are creating. You can think of spin-off effects, there will be people who will be supplying, security, catering, logistics and a whole lot of things. If you are talking about a 900 to 1200 beds facility than that’s a lot of staff compliment,” he said. With government having sustained its trend of roping in Chinese companies for such humongous projects, The Villager wanted to establish if this time the Health Ministry was strategically elbowing out the Chinese.

“No I am not avoiding the Chinese; we never mentioned Chinese or Japanese. We are just looking at companies that will give us value. We are not in the business of avoiding any one. All we want is standard and quality and long term solutions to our health sector without discrimination,” said the minister. The Minister had ample time to, in a side meeting, engage interested investors in Frankfurt, Germany after having responded to an invitation by the Germany Minister of health in Bonn for a patients’ safety meeting.