KEETMANSHOOP: President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Friday marked the commencement of construction of the Old Mutual Retail Centre in this southern town.
The N.dollars 92 million retail centre is expected to be completed and open for business by November 2013.
It will be located next to the Canyon Hotel, and on completion will occupy 11 000 square metres.
The groundbreaking took place on 15 June this year. The president urged all international companies operating in the country to emulate the good example of Old Mutual, and start investing in the country to ensure economic development.
“As policymakers, it is our duty to find innovative ways to promote the economic development of our country.
For example, with regards to pension funds and long-term insurance companies, it is important to ensure that financial assets generated by savings in Namibia are utilised to fund local economic development projects,” said Pohamba.
The Head of State indicated that efforts to generate money and assist the University of Namibia (Unam) to open a regional centre in Keetmanshoop next year are underway.
The president requested the NMC Construction company, entrusted with the construction of the Keetmanshoop Retail Centre, to work hard and complete the project by November 2013.
Executive Chairman of NMC Construction and former NamPower Managing Director, Leake Hangala promised to finish the work on time.
On his part, Karas Regional Governor Bernardus Swartbooi thanked Old Mutual for supporting the project that is a milestone in job creation and improving the lives of Karas residents.
He also thanked the government for its continuous support in developing the region, and also used the opportunity to advise all local authorities here to focus on projects that bring development to their people.
Managing Director of Old Mutual’s Africa Operations, Johannes !Gawaxab stated that the project is a way for his company to give back to the community and help them achieve their goals.
“We are not only here to write policies like some might understand. That is part of a bigger picture of collecting money and to use it to build infrastructure and alleviate poverty among our people.
We currently manage N.dollars 25 billion that will be used to help Namibians achieve development,” !Gawaxab said.
A total of 100 jobs will be created during the construction phase, while approximately 150 direct and indirect jobs will become available after construction.
Well-known retailers such as Foschini, Markhams, Shoprite, Legit, Edgars, Jet and Mr Price, as well as food outlets such as Hungry Lion and office space will form part of the centre with 222 parking spaces.