A neglected region

26 June 2019 | Local News

Kavango West is faced with many challenges, including planned capital projects not materialising and others being abandoned by contractors that are not held accountable.

Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku recently reiterated these and other challenges in her State of the Region Address (Sora).

“As I stated last year, the developmental state of our region still remains the same since its creation on 8 August 2013. Our region is highly rural at 99.99%, with high levels of poverty and unemployment,” Ausiku said.

He said development is hampered by poor road and water infrastructure and a lack of rural electrification.

Kavango West received a budget allocation of N$257 245 000 for the 2019/20 financial year, compared to N$192 073 000 in 2018/19.

However, Ausiku feels that the budget should be based on the statistics that narrate the needs of the region.

“The region expects to be treated as a new region, one of the poorest regions, and as such to receive an allocation commensurate/equivalent to the level of our development stage,” Ausiku said.

“The region still appeals to our central government that key projects that can impact the development of our region, highlighted in my previous SORAs and in the document submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister in 2017, be addressed during the next midterm expenditure framework period.

“It is high time that our central government takes the available official statistics on the developmental stage and the actual level of development of the region seriously and apply equity and fairness when allocating and reviewing budgets to the regions,” Ausiku added.

The region is in dire need of capital projects, with some initiatives yet to kick off after being planned years ago.

These include the Nkurenkuru district hospital project that former head of state Hifikepunye Pohamba did the groundbreaking for in 2014.

Apart from the district hospital, which is in limbo, the construction of the Nkurenkuru healthcare centre has been abandoned.

Ausiku called for all incomplete projects to be finished and for those that have been planned to become a reality.

“We are again disappointed that the construction of Nkurenkuru district hospital did not commence, although there was a budget allocation. The ministry completed minor renovations at Nankudu hospital and the Gcwatjinga clinic has opened for the public. The region is still appealing to the ministry to complete the Nkurenkuru healthcare and Gcaruhwa clinic,” Ausiku said.

The government office park, which is to be constructed at Nkurenkuru, is among the stalled capital projects. About N$18 million was budgeted for the project, but this was only enough to lay the groundwork for the initiative.

Ausiku said the region will continue repairing broken school chairs, desks and beds and will launch the Kavango West Development Fund in August.

She added the region will continue with its consultative gatherings and meetings between regional and local authority councils to address issues facing Kavango West.

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