Windhoek - The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism last week launched the online application system for environmental clearance.
As one of the 10 ministries that were identified in the e-government transformation during 2014-2018, one of the key functions of the ministry is to go electronic.
The launch of the system is also a significant contribution to implementing pillar 1 of the Harambee Prosperity Plan on effective governance and service delivery, which states the need to expedite the deployment of e-governance to cover all ministries and public agencies by 2020.
The environmental clearance application is mandated in the Environment Management Act, 2007 (Act No.7 of 2007), Section 27 which provides a list of activities that may not be undertaken without an environmental clearance certificate.
The list includes, mining, quarrying, infrastructural developments, removal of living natural resources and waste management, among others.
Processing applicants for environmental clearance is one of the key functions of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism that is undertaken through the Office of the Environmental Commissioner. The new system will be of major assistance to this office as it is believed it will prove to be more rigorous, transparent and client friendly than the existing manual system.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said he was thrilled to officially launch the online application system for environmental clearance. He said it further enhanced accessibility as it allowed clients from outside Windhoek to submit their applications online and track progress online rather than having to come to Windhoek as was currently the case.
"As a ministry, we are extremely conscious of the need to act quickly and not delay projects that are critical for the development of this country. I would like to emphasise the role of the system in strengthening public engagement in the environmental assessment process," Shifeta said.
The minister also disclosed that a total of 853 applications were received in the 2018/19 financial year, representing a 30% increase on the applications that were received in 2017/18, hence to better service the increasing demand for environmental clearance certificates in a more efficient manner, the ministry developed and is now implementing the online application system.