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ECB’s Manyame blasts advocacy group

The Electricity Control Board of Namibia’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rojas Manyame was not at a loss for words when he responded to claims by local advocacy group, the Consumer 4 Advocacy Group which is staunchly opposing plans by Nampower, the country’s national energy utility to develop the Kudu Gas project. At the centre of the allegations this time is the timing of the inspection period put forward by the Electricity Control Board. According to the advocacy group, the inspection period coincided with the festive period, in effect reducing the time for inspection by at least 50%. An e-mail sent out by the advocacy group about the inspection period has been doing the rounds of late.

It read, “A salient feature hereof is that the application runs over the Christmas-New Year Period. The Electricity Control Board chooses it fit to allow a reduction in the available office days to inspect the application by 9 days, i.e by almost 50% of the typical number of office days in the 30 day calendar period. This clearly prejudices a fair and reasonable opportunity to inspect and respond to an IPP [Independent Power Producer] application with far-reaching consequences in a fair and reasonable manner.”Contacted for comment by the Economist, Manyame shot straight from the hip saying “They [the Consumer 4 Advocacy Group] have until the 22nd of this month to inspect. They haven’t inspected to my knowledge. I do not know why they are complaining. They have two weeks to come.” Manyame added, “We cannot stop a prospective independent power producer from submitting a licence just because it is the festive season. If that is the case, we may as well tell them to take their project.” “We want the best for Namibia,” Manyame said citing the Kudu Gas project. Founding member of the advocacy group Peter Nutt responded to the issues raised by the Electricity Control Board’s Manyame as preposterous. He said, “That [Kudu] is a complex application that requires time. Must I change my holiday?” The ECB can tell Nampower that the timing of the application is not opportune. That is why they are called a regulator,” adding that the previous Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Control Board, Siseho Simasiku explained the process to him. Asked Nutt, “Is it so difficult to understand the principle of fairness?” citing the inspection period allocated by the Electricity Control Board to the Kudu project. He added, “It is not about me, it is about the public. Whether I have not been there [at the ECB] is immaterial.”

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