Swartbooi questions public procurement system

08 May 2014 17:40pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 08 MAY (NAMPA) – Namibia’s public procurement system has not yet brought the desired outcomes such as employment creation, enterprise development and economic growth, but is rather plagued by suspected irregularities.
The governor of the //Karas Region, Bernadus Swartbooi raised this concern during the opening of a retreat of the Tender Board of Namibia at Keetmanshoop on Thursday.
The governor said public sector procurement has become something of a worrisome area over the years as procurement practices have become shrouded in suspicions about irregularities, sometimes bordering on corruption.
“Despite a significant increase in public expenditure, public procurement has not brought the desired outcomes, such as increased employment, improvement in the distribution of economic opportunities, enterprise development, as well as economic growth,” he lamented.
The problems plaguing the public sector procurement dispensation, according to the governor, are in a large sense due to the shortcomings of the legislative framework and institutional weaknesses.
On tender exemptions, Swartbooi cautioned that it has skyrocketed over the last decade, effectively casting most of the public sector procurement process into the shadows, without the State or responsible agencies such as the Tender Board giving adequate explanations for the exemptions.
The size of the Tender Board also came under fire from the governor. He suggested that Government should reassess the size of the Tender Board of Namibia, and also consider appointing individuals that represent a cross-section of socio-economic sectors.
With regard to transparency and accountability in the tender and procurement process, Swartbooi called for every step to be as open for scrutiny as possible.
“Accountability needs to be engendered through a culture of periodical and critical review of systems and processes in an effort to continuously improve and strengthen these systems and processes, and close procedural and other loopholes as they might arise,” he added.
The retreat ends Saturday.