Construction of the 264km northern railway line extension in Namibia is currently 90% complete. According to Minister of works John Mutorwa, the remaining 10% is for the completion of the outstanding components on the Ondangwa to Oshakati section as part of phase three.
“This part of construction includes the construction of the Oshakati station buildings, platforms and civil works, procurement of railway materials (rails and ballast stone) and construction of the railway track,” said the minister while responding to questions posed in the National Assembly by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Johannes Martin.
Northern railway line extension project
Construction of the project started way back in 2001, in the copper town of Tsumeb. According to the minister, one of the delaying factors is the long time required by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) to approve bidding documents, adjudicated on the bids and affect the award of bids.
This is after the Public Procurement Act came into force in 2017, meaning procurement for large projects should have to go through the CPBN. “In 2018, this ministry prepared and submitted standard bidding documents, including those for the construction of the Oshakati station building, platforms and civil works to the CPBN,” explained Mr Mutorwa.
However, the minister said that the construction of the Oshakati station building, platforms and civil works were only cleared for advertisement last year when the CPBN advertised in June last year. “The CPBN was only able to constitute a bid evaluation committee to evaluate the bids in November last year, almost four months after the closure of the bid,” Mutorwa added.
“As it stands, the ministry awaits award of bid by the CPBN, and as soon as that is done, work will commence in the next financial year after the award and if funds are appropriated,” affirmed the minister.
Phase one of the extension project began in January 2001 and was completed in 2006. Phase two, covering 60km between Ondangwa and Oshikoto, commenced in June 2006 and was completed in January 2012. Phase three includes the 28km stretch between Ondangwa and Oshakati. Construction of the earthworks has been implemented and works on the road-over-rail bridge between Ondangwa and Oshakati commenced in 2014, and were completed in 2016 and 2017.