The Central North Regional Electricity Distributor (CENORED) officially opened a brand new N$10 million dollar office complex in Tsumeb on Friday morning.
The move to invest in Tsumeb has been hailed by the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga, as an example for other investors to follow. CENORED has opened similar buildings in towns such as Otavi, Otjiwarongo and Okakarara.
“These investments by CENORED are meant to send a clear message that development can happen even in the smallest and remotest towns. It is our hope that other investors will follow the lead and see the opportunities that are in abundance in Namibia. We must move away from the Windhek-centric model of development, in line with government’s developmental objectives of ensuring equitable socio-economic development in all 14 regions of this great nation,” said Shilunga at the inauguration ceremony.
Shilunga added that the new building epitomises the reason why the government decided to create regional electricity distribution companies, popularly known as REDS.
“The electricity industry, as we all know, is a very skills-intensive sector, requiring highly trained electricians, technicians and engineers. By pooling our resources into the REDS the local authorities are able to recruit and retain these highly skilled cadres and more importantly are able to utilise them across the entire REDS area and not just in one local authority or the other.
“It is not a secret that Namibia suffers from a severe skills deficit and by pooling our meagre resources we are able to at least attain certain economies of scale that allow us, the local authorities in the REDS, to have access to this limited pool of technically qualified people,” explained Shilunga.
She continued that physical infrastructure demonstrates the ability of any given town to host services that are required by the wider customer base. She also noted that CENORED has invested wisely and prudently in providing a decent comfortable working environment for the employees and customers at large.
“CENORED has demonstrated commitment to investing in all towns of its operations in order to boost the economic development and this building is tangible proof of that commitment,” remarked Shilunga.
Meanwhile, CENORED chairman Kahenge Simson Haulofu narrated how CENORED rented a warehouse in Tsumeb that was eventually transformed into office space to enable business transactions.
As the organisation grew and its customer base increased they started looking for a piece of land on which to establish their own office facility. The new building was designed by ABA Architects and construction was made possible through a loan from FNB Namibia. The building houses 25 staff members in the technical and finance departments.
“We thank the professional and committed employees, whether in line of duty by digging trenches, climbing on electricity poles, driving from one point to the other or those that are interacting with customers on a daily basis. Thank you very much indeed and please continue making the nation proud,” said Haulofu.
Also speaking at the inauguration, the mayor of Tsumeb, Linekela Shetekela, said the Tsumeb Municipal Council adopted the policy of economic diversification about nine or ten years ago to pursue increased development of the town.
“The municipality decided to engage government miniseries and parastatals to establish themselves in the town to target business promotion through one-on-one visits and to create visibility of our town to mention but a few.”
“While Tsumeb is world-renowned for its good quality copper, our town is also strategically located in terns of its position within north-central Namibia. Businesses were therefore encouraged to exploit the economic potential through viable links to neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region through the major transport corridors such as the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kunene highways,” said Shetekela.
He also noted that Tsumeb is ranked as the fifth fastest growing town in the country in terms of local investment in mining, agricultural production, the retail sector, tourism and the ever growing services sector.
The Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Engel Nawatiseb, and other representatives from the Northern Regional Electricity Distributor Company (NORED), as well as the Erongo Regional Electricity Distributor (Erongo RED) also attended the event.