Namport rebuts Ritter’s claims

Namport has moved to rebut claims by independent researcher, Rainer Ritter who last week released a report highlighting that the Port’s logistics hub plan was not well thought out and hence the parastatal faces grave economic challenges.

In his report released by the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), Ritter further claimed that Namport is experiencing an overall decline in vessel visits, a decline in profit margins while the enterprise is expected to start repaying the N$3.2 billion AfDB loan from the end of 2019 onwards.

“The very costly and ambitious objective of Namibia to become a logistics hub on the West Coast should be based on proper research, realistic assumptions and facts. This analysis suggests that no rigorous research was done prior to embarking on these huge investments. It should be obvious that merely investing in major infrastructure development will not by itself attract business if other ports are more competitive in terms of tariff rates and proximity to markets.

“The financial situation is of such a nature that a decline in tariffs could worsen the situation should volumes not increase significantly. This shows that the decision by Namport to invest in the new container terminal was the wrong decision. Namport maneuvered itself into a risky catch 22 financial situation that should have been avoided through prudent financial planning,” the report states. 

In response, Namport outgoing CEO, Bisey Uirab who rebutted every aspect of Ritter’s report while emphasing that reports were compiled and distributed without the courtesy of according Namport the opportunity to either verify the contents thereof or provide the context to some of the issues raised in the reports explained that although Namport had initially thought not to respond to the malicious allegations, the company felt it was important to clarify.

“While Namport remains very open and receptive to ideas and suggestions which would advance the development of our ports and its role to the nation and the region at large, it is important that such engagements are done in a manner that is inclusive of all parties’ view points, considerate and respectful of each other and devoid of innuendos which border on personal attacks and questioning of the competence and integrity of fellow professionals. It is incomprehensible and smacks of ill intent, why the writer did not have the courtesy to seek for Namport’s input to his reports before sharing his so called findings and analyses with the public. 

“The writer questions the country’s development priorities and suggests that some cabinet decisions are devoid of substance. This is quite unfortunate and begs the question that if the intentions are noble, why the writer would not give his input and ideas at the various formal platforms with relevant stakeholders in a positive and constructive manner. 

“In fact the writer indicates that he has been a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) of the two former Presidents of the Republic of Namibia and then goes on to say “responsibility for the current predicament is due in large part to the reckless government spending from 2010 to 2015”. One would then have expected him to at the least have given his input as part of the PEAC,” Uirab said.