TUJOROMAJO KASUTO

PUBLIC Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, says the Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc through the country’s economy and majority of public enterprises are experiencing the aftermath with NWR and the Namibia Airports Company gravely strained.

“NWR and the Namibia Airports Company were the most severely affected but the fact is that the pandemic is affecting the entire economy and most of our public enterprises are experiencing the consequences,” Jooste says. The ministry has been urging the public enterprises to implement cost cutting measures and to approach financial institutions before they approach the shareholder for assistance. “We are currently assessing the situation as we approach the mid-term budget review,” he adds.

NWR is mandated to run the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia. Its only shareholder is the government of the Republic of Namibia. The company was created through the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Company Act, and has been in existence since 1998.

NWR is a hospitality and service company, with professional, staff dedicated to providing guests with a relaxing, comfortable, memorable and liberating Namibian experience, thus with the recent lockdowns and strict regulations restricted movement between regions, limited number of people in establishments had a negative effect on the enterprises operations, with Airport Company also enduring the same drawbacks.

The tourism industry has been hit by the lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the country and the world.

At the onset of the disease, most countries imposed travel bans, which resulted in the collapse of the industry as flights were grounded and borders were closed.

As a result many tourist establishments were closed for some months, only to reopen with the relaxation of the lockdowns and travel was allowed under strict conditions.

Covid cases have been rising of late with Namibia recording more than 1 500 deaths in July alone.

According to the Government, Namibia’s hope against Covid-19 lies in vaccinating at least 60-80 percent of the population to reach herd immunity; the country has not vaccinated more than five percent.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shalumba recently said 171 499 people had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 51 828 had received two doses.

Khomas had the highest number of 50 455 people vaccinated with the first dose of either Sinopharm or Astrazeneca. The region with the lowest number of vaccinations is Zambezi with 3087 for the first dose.