Namibia’s defence budget has allocated hundreds of millions of Namibian dollars towards ongoing infrastructure projects and the training of thousands of new recruits.
Namibia’s Ministry of Defence has been allocated N$7.23 billion in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2015/16 and 2017/18 tabled in parliament last month, reports The Namibian.
Several hundred million dollars will be spent on the construction of infrastructure, including at military bases at Mpacha, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Walvis Bay, Karibib and an army battle school at Oshivelol, reports New Era. During the current framework, existing military bases such as those at Osona, Luiperdsvallei and Otjiwarongo will be upgraded.
The publication reports that construction of an N$800 million military hospital is underway and that N$99 million will be spent from now until 2018, with the remaining N$640 million to be allocated from 2019. The project was initiated in 2013 and N$22 million has been spent since then.
According to the MTEF document: “The hospital will avail better health care to the serving men and women and their families. This hospital will also ensure discretion during combat situations.” The military hospital will also be used for VIPs.
In early 2014 the Namibian government said it would spend billions on the construction and upgrading of five new military bases and the establishment of a new military academy over the next four years under a greatly expanded defence budget.
Last year the NDF’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) document for the period 2014 to 2017 shows that billions will be spent on setting up new army bases in Keetmanshoop N$241 million), Otjiwarongo (N$545 million), Gobabis (N$550 million) and Oluno (N$573 million).
A new air force base will be set up in Karibib (N$348 million) while a new military academy will be built at Oshivelo (N$395 million). Further developments include the construction of the new military hospital in Windhoek (N$450 million), specific upgrades to the NDF naval base in Walvis Bay (N$395 million)and a general rehabilitation programme which will cover an unspecified number of old army bases (N$615 million).
The MTEF said all the projects are intended to provide accommodation to soldiers and will include fuel depots, barracks, recreational facilities, kitchens and laundry blocks.
The infrastructure development programme comes eight years after a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence report which indicated that morale was running low in the armed forces because the soldiers were underpaid and lowly-motivated as they operated from dilapidated bases and were using outdated weaponry and combat vehicles.
Namibia increased its defence budget by 66% to N$6.6 billion for 2014-2015 compared to the previous year’s budget of N$3.9 billion, according to The Namibian.
The Namibian Ministry of Defence is set to train over 3 500 recruits from now to 2018.
In announcing the increased defence budget last month, Namibia’s finance minister Calle Schlettwein said Namibia wishes to ensure peace and stability in the country and the region and that Namibia has a good track record when it comes to peacekeeping.