The Namibian government says it will spend billions on the construction and upgrading of five new military bases over the next four years under a greatly expanded defence budget.
The military infrastructure development project, between now and 2017, also includes the establishment of a new military academy for the Namibia Defence Force (NDF).
According to the Namibian daily The Namibian, 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 a 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).
However, the current military expenditure plan does not include budgets for the long-delayed rehabilitation of NDF barracks at Leopards Valley in Windhoek and Osona barracks in the Okahandja region (N$690 million).
The MTEF says all the projects are intended to provide accommodation to soldiers and will include fuel depots, barracks, recreational facilities, kitchens and laundry blocks.
“The (aim of the) project is to provide a modern, well-trained and well-developed defence force. The primary beneficiary is the NDF,” reads part of the project description.
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forces because the soldiers were underpaid and lowly-motivated as they operated from dilapidated bases and were using outdated weaponry and combat vehicles.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.
Finance minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said most of the money would be used for upgrading and renovating military bases as they were badly in need of maintenance and improvement.