DTA expresses concern over the advertisement of a tender for the construction of a Government Office Park

August 27, 2015, 10:38am

Advertisement of Tender for the Construction of a Government Office Park

The DTA of Namibia is shocked by an article in the Namibian Newspaper of 18 August 2015 titled "N$1b Govt Park on the Cards", in which it is reported that the Namibian Government, through the Ministry of Works and Transport, has advertised a public tender for the construction of offices for Government Ministries to the tune of N$1 billion.
The Party wishes to raise a number of issues of concern with regard to the above, the first being the fact that according to the tender advertisement, the closing date for the submission of tender documents is a mere nine days later than when the advertisement first appeared in local media. The DTA is of the opinion that a time frame of nine days is completely inadequate for the preparation and submission of tender documents for a project of such a magnitude. In fact, it is our belief that the only way in which one could submit complete and accurate documents in response to such a tender advertisement, is if one had access to crucial information regarding the proposed project long before the publication of the call for the submission of tenders.
Therefore the Party believes the public advertisement of the above tender to be nothing more than a poorly veiled exercise in window dressing. This is because it has become an open secret that the allocation of large-scale public procurement and public infrastructure development projects is the prerogative of high ranking public servants, and is based on strategic partnerships forged between foreign firms and politically well-connected individuals, with no regard for fair competition or due process.  
Secondly, the tender advertisement for the above-mentioned public infrastructure development project states as a requirement that bids should come from companies who have in the past executed projects to the value of N$200 million. This, in the opinion of the DTA, severely limits the number of Namibian companies eligible to tender for this project, as the advertisement restricts eligibility to 100% wholly Namibian-owned companies. The alternative is the establishment of a joint venture with a wholly Namibian-owned company, which in itself is not a feasible option for the majority of Namibians as it is often only the politically well-connected who are able to establish such joint ventures with foreign firms  with the required experience.
In this regard the DTA wishes to question whether or not the project documents require that use be made of Namibian small and medium enterprises (SME's) in the delivery and development of this project. The Party believes that public infrastructure development initiatives must be used as a tool to support local SME's, thereby creating employment and driving economic growth.  
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The DTA believes that the need for Government office space, as alluded to in the abovementioned article, is an outcome of a bloated and over-sized public service. Instead of planning to build or rent office space for public servants who are failing to deliver and thereby simply not meeting the needs of Namibian citizens, Government should instead look to downsize and professionalise the public service, and in the process divert already scarce resources to areas where these are sorely needed, for instance the servicing of urban land and delivery of housing.  
As such the DTA calls for the urgent intervention of President Hage Geingob to immediately cancel the tender for the construction of a Government Office Park, and to prioritise State spending according the needs of the Namibian people. Should the President believe the project to be of national importance, the DTA calls for a re-advertisement of the tender with the aim of ensuring a fair, transparent and competitive bidding process.
In its 2014 Election Manifesto the DTA championed the establishment of a venture capital fund that would aim to provide cheap access to finance for Namibian youth wishing to establish businesses. This initiative would provide young Namibian entrepreneurs with financing for viable business proposals without the requiring collateral, as well as providing a seven month repayment holiday, in an effort to promote entrepreneurship and kick start employment creation. The Party once again reiterates this call.