Govt hunts Walvis Bay development partner
• By Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has invited leading global developers and operators with significant capability and well proven experience in port and container terminal management, shipping and logistics sector operations, developers and operators of special economic zones and business development experts, to partner in the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI).
A national coordinating committee, with lead coordination by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), has been constituted to identify and approach global market leading operators, and to facilitate the Expression of Interest (EOI) from potential operators and developers on behalf of the government.
In addition to the NIPDB, the committee is made up of the following entities: Ministry of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT), Ministry of Finance (PPP and Procurement Policy Units), Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) and Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA).
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“The call for expression of interest is taking the form of a market sounding process whereby participants with the relevant organisational size, experience and capabilities are invited to express an interest, and simultaneously submit an initial proposal of their approach to the various project components. Participants with an interest in only one of the projects are also encouraged to participate and provide details of their alternative plans to contribute to economic development and the country’s other strategic priorities,” NIPDB said in a statement this week.
The proposals currently sought from global operators will allow the government to assess the market appetite for partnerships if and when the project components are consolidated, or whether benefit is increased if these projects are considered separately.
“Upon conclusion of the EOI process, the government will then assess whether the interest expressed by the private sector warrants continuing with a subsequent Request for Proposals under the provisions of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Act,” added NIPDB.
In 2013, the Namibian Port Authority (Namport), with the support of the government as a shareholder, embarked on an expansion programme through the construction of the New Container Terminal (NCT) at the Port of Walvis Bay. This was done in fulfilment of the NDP5 strategic objective to make Namibia a regional logistics hub.
The New Container Terminal (NCT) is a significant asset to Namport’s balance sheet, and the government strongly believes that it can now provide greater opportunity to promote the country’s economic development agenda, if leveraged, marketed and managed together with certain complementary components.
To further increase the container throughput at the facility and contribute to the country’s other strategic priorities such as job creation and value addition, the Namibian Government seeks to develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in near proximity to the port of Walvis Bay.
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Furthermore, as part of Namibia’s initiatives to enhance its competitiveness, ease of doing business and ambition to develop into a regional logistics hub, the implementation of a National Single Window (NSW) has also become a priority project and is being considered alongside the development of a SEZ and the management of the NCT by private developers and operators respectively.
To effectively implement the above initiatives, the government has consolidated them into a project called the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI).
The WIDI aims to improve Namibia’s efficiency and competitiveness as a regional logistics hub, with the main objective being to positively contribute to the country’s economic development, including the creation of quality jobs and the transfer of key skills for and to Namibians.
Furthermore, through the SEZ, the initiative is expected to aid the conversion of Namibian raw materials and resources to finished and semi-finished products and components as part of the nation’s drive to diversify Namibia’s economy.