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Hosea Kutako Airport Road construction on track despite COVID-19 pandemic

Hosea Kutako Airport Road construction on track despite COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the Covid pandemic, the deadline for construction of the Hosea Kutako International Airport Road has only moved by two months from 36 months to 38 months, Project manager Wei Qiang Ding said this week. The Chinese company, Avic is constructing the road.

The construction of the road started in March 2020 and will link the capital, Windhoek, and the Hosea Kutako International Airport. The construction is expected to be completed in 2024. Around 300 people are expected to be employed during the construction phase. The project is financed through a N$1 billion grant from China.

Meanwhile, Ding said Avic has resolved the tax deduction dispute with its workers which led to the workers downing tools this week.

Ding said the dispute has been resolved and that the workers returned to work on Thursday after downing tools on Monday.

“We are not running away from paying tax. We did not steal the money as claimed,” he said.

The workers had said Avic was deducting tax from employees while the company had not registered them as taxpayers with NAMRA and that the deducted money was not being paid over to the tax office. Ding said the company had repaid the workers the money that was deducted but said the delays to register them as taxpayers were due to the bureaucracy with the registration process at NAMRA. Secondly, the consultants contracted to process tax payments and issuing of pay5 delayed the process of issuing the pay5 to employees.

He explained Avic had submitted the necessary documents to NAMRA but said delays in allocating tax numbers to individual workers had delayed the process. Ding disputed the allegations that the money, which was deducted, was not paid to NAMRA.

Ding said the workers had the wrong perception that Avic was deducting money from their salaries and keeping it instead of paying NAMRA.

“We ended up blaming each other, but that was not the case,” he said. Ding said when the tax registration process is completed at NAMRA, the workers will still be expected to pay tax on the money that they have earned so far.
Ding explained that apart from the tax dispute, Avic and the workers have not had problems and said the company was compliant with all labour laws including the minimum wage as promulgated in the government gazette. Including leave days and allowances.


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