Govt construction tender should be re-advertised: DTA

27 Aug 2015 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 27 AUG (NAMPA) – The DTA of Namibia has called on President Hage Geingob to urgently intervene and cancel the tender for the construction of a Government office park and to prioritise State spending according to the needs of the Namibian people.
The DTA expressed concern over a public tender advertised by the Ministry of Works and Transport for the construction of offices for Government ministries worth N.dollars 1 billion.
The party president, McHenry Venaani was quoted in a media statement issued on Thursday saying the tender should be re-advertised with the aim to ensure a fair, transparent and competitive bidding process, should the president view the project to be of national importance.
The tender was advertised in the local media on 17 August 2015 with special conditions entailing that only contractors who are 100 per cent Namibian-owned and who can provide documented proof of having successfully completed a complex multi-story building in Namibia with a minimum value of N.dollars 200 million, will be considered for short listing.
Venaani said the party believes the public advertisement of the tender to be nothing more than “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,” he said.
The party's president further stated that the advertised tender was based on strategic partnerships forged between foreign firms and politically well-connected individuals, with no regard for fair competition or due process.
He further noted that requirements stated in the tender severely limits the number of Namibian companies eligible to tender for the project, as it also restricts eligibility to 100 per cent Namibian-owned companies.
Venaani added that an alternative is the establishment of a joint venture with an entirely Namibian-owned company, although this may not be 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.”
The DTA also questioned whether the project documents for the required use of Namibian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the delivery and development of the project.
“The party believes that public infrastructure development initiatives must be used as a tool to support local SMEs, thereby creating employment and driving economic growth,” Venaani said.
He also noted that the need for Government office space is the outcome of a bloated and oversized public service, adding Government should instead look at downsizing and professionalising the public service, and in the process divert already scarce resources to areas where they are needed.