It is reported that N$41 billion in physical infrastructure funding is required for Namibia to achieve the key targets outlined in the National Development Plan 5. Physical infrastructure could be defined as economic infrastructure such as ICT, transport, power or social infrastructure such as water, sanitation, school facilities and hospitals are all widely considered to be preconditions for industrialisation and economic development.
It is this context that Standard Bank’s Head of Public Sector and Market Intelligence Titus Ndove says the current investment infrastructures by Government is in itself not sufficient and as a country we can no longer solely rely on government to close the funding gap that exists in the way of infrastructure investment.
“The private sector has a pivotal intervention role to play to close or bridge the country’s infrastructure gap and support Government. Namibia is already on the right path with regards to undertaking the necessary reform to attract the private sector through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), the procurement legislation and the private sector efficiency,” said Ndove. He however questioned as to whether this is sufficient given the huge infrastructure financing gap.
Ndove stated that the current enabling environment needs to be reviewed and necessary regulatory, administrative and institutional reforms should be undertaken.
There also need to be improved coordination and enhanced technical capacity and also formulate an integrated infrastructure plan to classify projects and present financially viable projects to the private sector. He added that the envisaged Infrastructure Fund has huge potential as it is structured well on governance.
“When looking at the infrastructure financing gap over the medium term (MTEF), the question to ask is how can Namibia finance the infrastructure requirements that are needed to unlock the economic targets outlined in the National Development Plan 5? By 2021/2022 financial year road for example amount to a N$ 30billion financing gap and financing this gap becomes very critical for economic growth and development,” said Ndove.
The Namibian Government has identified scaling up investment in infrastructure as one of the key enablers to achieve its development objectives as outlined in both NDP5 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan. The specific areas where infrastructure development is needed include transport (road, rail, maritime and aviation), electricity, water and information and communication technology.
Ndove states that “NDP5 not only sets out targets which are to be achieved for each sector over the NDP5 period and its implementation plan also outlines the funding requirements that it estimates will be required on an annual basis in order to achieve its objectives.” He concludes that with time and patience the private sector has much to learn and needs proper understanding of Namibia’s unique circumstances and realities.