The Roads Authority (RA) on Wednesday launched a N$15 billion five-year Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) which seeks to expand the national road network as well as upgrade gravel roads to bitumen standards.
The funds will be sourced from the Road Fund Administration (RFA) which will provide N$10.27 billion, and an additional N$1.22 billion through loans and grants, whereas the government will provide funding of N$2.78 billion over the five-year duration ending in 2026/27.
“Construction of roads is very expensive, but we are confident that we will succeed, as for now we already have a capital of N$5 billion, of which we are optimistic we will be able to source the remaining N$10 billion,” Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer Conrad Lutombi said.
Lutombi said in five years, RA plans to construct and upgrade 700km to bitumen standard, 215km of gravel road, rehabilitate 715km, and re-gravel 2,800km, as well as rejuvenate 635km to low seal bitumen standard.
Under the duration of the ISBP, RA intends on establishing nine new NaTIS registering authorities and contain roads that are in unacceptable condition to 10%. In the same vein reduce unsurfaced roads in unacceptable condition from 49% to 38% by the year 2027.
National roads account for nearly 50,000 kilometres including gravel and bitumen
“Over the years we want to try and surface gravel roads with low seal because we understand the hardships and pain of the road users. We often prefer to use low seal in areas where traffic volume is not much, and the standard in heavy traffic flow also frequented by heavy duty vehicles,” said Lutombi.
There are more than 20 road construction and upgrade projects to be undertaken across the country.
Lutombi also said RA has made it a priority to surface all roads in proclaimed settlement to reduce dust and avoid bad road conditions.
“We have realised that people who leave close to settlements and towns where heavy traffic flow is experienced suffer more. It’s on this note that we have decided to assist with upgrade of roads for towns such as Tsumeb, Windhoek, Stampriet, Bethanie, Gibeon, Maltahohe, Outapi, Kavango and Zambezi because we have seen they are struggling and road are in bad shape,” he added.
Meanwhile, Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa emphasised the importance of road infrastructure saying there is no development without proper roads.
“Roads are the cornerstone of unlocking economic and socio-political development, because anything that needs to be done is directly linked to transportation which is the road,” stated Mutorwa.
He added that lack of resources should not be an excuse for not developing more roads. He instead encouraged that a lot should be done with the little that is available for as long it is spread across all areas.
“We understand resources are scarce, some might argue that some roads are not economically viable, but it’s through such undertakings that you later start attracting development and investments,” he remarked.
He, therefore, urged RA to be comprehensive and diverse in planning to lay the foundation of unlocking economic potential.
According to the RFA, Namibia’s road network is valued at N$101 billion, of which about 83% is unpaved.