N$67 million vet lab project iced
The construction of an N$67m veterinary laboratory and clinic in Ondangwa is currently on hold, as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry struggles to find a constructor, after the awarded tenderer pulled out.
The new lab will be the regional centre of excellence in animal disease control and will increase current efforts to work towards the suppression of animal diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease and Rabies, while also improving relationships with current and future trading partners.
Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry acting Permanent Secretary Andrew Nehemiah confirmed that the ministry is in the final stages of awarding the construction tender to another company after Tectura architects who were initially awarded the tender pulled out earlier this year.
“The delays have been caused by a constructor who pulled out in the middle because of some disagreements. The construction will start as soon as the tender has officially been awarded” Nehemiah said.
Nehemiah could however not elaborate on the disagreements adding that it is an internal matter that has already been resolved.
Also commenting on the matter, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said he is very disappointed by the delays in the construction adding that the facility would have been nearing completion now.
“The delays of construction of the facility are unnecessary and could have been avoided, that is what is wrong with our contractors here (in Namibia) but the contraction will get back on track and the country will have a state of the art laboratory that will provide much needed veterinary services to Northern regions and Namibia as a whole,” Mutorwa said.
Tectura architects managing Director Jack Mutua declined to comment saying that he does not have anything new to say about the matter.
The construction for the first phase was due to start in July 2014 with while the construction of the whole facility is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.
According to the laboratory will be the second in the country for detecting and investigating of domestic, wild and aquatic diseases north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence.
The laboratory will be the second fully-fledged facility of its kind in Namibia, with an advanced capacity to undertake serology, biotechnology, molecular diagnostic techniques, microbiology, virology and pathological services.
It is also set to permanently change the health status of livestock and will reduce and cut down response to animal health calamities.
Currently samples are sent to the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek, delaying critical decision making capacity for veterinarians and technicians in the field.
by Hileni Heita