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Reprieve for Independent Power Producers?

The Electricity Control Board (ECB) will hold a workshop next week on Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs (REFIT) aimed at addressing barriers to entry into the energy market faced by independent power producers from renewable energy sources.

Speaking at a renewable energy seminar hosted in the capital earlier this week by the Southern African German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an official from the energy regulator told delegates that the ECB will convene a workshop that will look at some of the recommendations that the ECB want Government to consider in order to encourage investment in the renewable energy sector.
Francois Robinson manager: regulatory support services at ECB said after the initial resistance to provide Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with guarantees against risks such as regulatory, political, change in law, foreign currency etc, government has had a change of heart and has now agreed to look at these risks to determine how best it can be mitigated and/or supported.

In an interview with the Economist Robinson said: “At the initial stages government was not very supportive towards adopting all of these risks, but after various consultations including with our neighbours Zambia and South Africa, it was felt that for IPPs to enter a country, there is a need for government support.
After these consultations, the Ministry of Mines and Energy in consultation with the ECB and NamPower, are now busy preparing a report on those risks that can be considered for government support.
On the issue of the price of electricity Robinson said negotiations will only be done in Namibian dollars and not in US dollars as it is the responsibility of the IPPs to take on that risk.
Although there are more than ten licensed Independent Power Producers in Namibia, according to Robinson, NamPower has struggled to sign any power purchase agreements as IPPs have been demanding Government guarantees against risks such as regulatory, political, change in law, foreign currency etc.
Nampower MD Paulinus Shilamba indicated in May that in case the IPPs continue to demand Government guarantees against political risks and government in turn decides not to accept them, there was a strong possibility that IPP projects will never be implemented in Namibia.
Shilamba said the impasse will put NamPower under more pressure, as the power utility has to find ways of resolving the current power supply challenges on its own without private sector participation.
Robinson said in view of the recent announcement by Government that it will embark on a massive housing development project, the need to have electricity from renewable energy has become urgent until the Kudu Gas project comes on stream by 2018.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.