CoW, GRN debt swap deal on the cards

12 February 2021 | Government

The City of Windhoek (CoW) has offered government a N$350 million debt swap deal.
A debt swap is a refinancing deal in which a debtor gets an equity position in exchange for the cancellation of the debt. It is generally done to help a struggling entity continue to operate.
Mayor Job Amupanda announced the envisaged deal last night during the Windhoek municipality’s first council’s meeting of the year.
Amupanda said this forms part of the mutual relationship that CoW intends to foster between itself and government.
The offer was made to Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni at a meeting in Otjiwarongo recently during an induction workshop for local authority councillors. “We proposed to the minister the matter of debt swap between the City and Government which will help in improving our books and financial situation. This debt currently stands at more than N$350 million,” Amupanda said.
The City also informed Uutoni of its readiness to work with the ministry and assist the local authority sector given its capacity, resources and positionality.

GRN subsidy sought
The City also wants to be subsidised by government.
“Our investigation is that this situation is unique to Namibia. Cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, and even London receive subsidies from the State. We also raised the government’s financial obligations in terms of the Fire Brigade Services Act,” Amupanda said.
He described the discussions with Uutoni as cordial while a follow-up meeting is in the pipeline.
Uutoni could not be reached for comment.
During the four-hour-long deliberations, Amupanda told councillors that the modus operandi at CoW will be different.
He was responding to Swapo’s Fransina Kahungu who wanted to cut a debate short, citing that the meeting was spending too much time on petty issues. “We don’t want to take political decisions here. We want to do things by the law. We don’t want to sue or the council to be sued unnecessarily. That thing will not happen under this leadership. It’s going to be different,” Amupanda said.
According to the mayor, preceding councils dominated by Swapo took political decisions that haunt the City to this day.
The meeting was adjourned at around 22:00 and shelved for Monday at 14:00 as some matters on the agenda were not decided on. – Nampa

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