Environment ministry eyes simplified Etosha fence design to cut costs
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has attributed the 10-year delay of the predator and elephant proof fence at the Etosha National Park to high financial demands of the current design and has launched a review into the matter to find ways to reduce costs.
According to a statement released by the ministry, the delayed upgrades of the fence is due to ‘over-design’ which makes cost of construction high.
The ministry said according to their budget books, during the 2012/13 financial year, an amount of N$35 million was allocated for fences, in 2013/14 N$40 million, in 2014/15 N$40 million, in 2015/16 N$20 million and in 2016/17 N$29 million, later reduced by half to N$14.5 million.
The ministry said during the current financial year, an amount of N$23.8 million has been allocated. However, to date only 120 km of an 840 km fence have been completed with 720 km remaining. This has prompted the ministry to reduce the fencing specifications of the current design.
“The ministry has embarked on a benchmarking process to find an alternative design that is affordable without compromising the quality and effectiveness of the fence. We have assessed different facilities on private farms and game ranches in Namibia and South Africa that have big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, buffaloes and hyenas in our quest to find a suitable design,” Romeo Muyunda, MET spokesperson said.
Muyunda said the ministry developed a design that incorporates specifications from all the places that were assessed. The ministry’s projections indicate that the simplified fence may cost approximately N$240,000 per kilometre.
“However, as with other projects, consultants will be appointed to develop the new design, costing (actual estimates) documentation and supervision. The estimated amount still needs to be verified once a feasibility study is conducted on the new design,” Muyunda added.