SWAKOPMUND, 26 SEP (NAMPA) -
The Tender Board of Namibia under the Ministry of Finance is working hard to improve efficiency and inclusivity to avoid wasting money, time and unnecessary delays in the tender application and allocation process.
Members of the Tender Board mentioned this on Friday during their two-day retreat held at Swakopmund. The team led by board chairperson Ericah Shafudah converged here to review weaknesses, challenges and strengths in order to come up with recommendations to improve performance and achieve better results.
"We need to make sure that our local companies get tenders and not only foreigners. As members of the board you need to change your culture of service delivery as the new government does not allow incompetence and laziness; if not soon, you will find yourself without a job," said the Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa at the official opening of the retreat on Friday.
Asked by Nampa which other issues the board wish to iron out, board member Patrick Swartz said they need to ensure that more small and medium enterprises (SME) receive tenders.
He added that board members and members of the public must be educated more on the tender application and allocation process, because at the moment a lot of people have limited understanding.
"We must also not allow the same companies to continue receiving tenders while others are left out. This is not inclusivity," Swartz said.
This agency also asked other board members how they will deal with public criticism and allegations of favouritism, monopoly in the allocation of tenders. Welma Enssle responded that there has never been favouritism or monopoly in the allocation of tenders.
"Allegations of such nature are caused by lack of understanding on how we do things as board members. A company gets a tender because it qualified, not because it is, for instance, closely linked to one of the board members," said Enssle.
She also said procurement is done mostly by clerks who are not well trained, hence there is a need to train such people. Other board members raised the issue of a lack of technology on procurement, saying most of the work is done on paper and takes more time compared to electronic transactions.
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, early this month, reintroduced and tabled the reviewed Public Procurement Bill in Parliament. During its introduction the Minister said the Bill contains essential provisions to ensure that the objectives of transparency, value for money, accountability, fair competition and equal treatment of all bidders are achieved.
It will also provide for the establishment of an appropriate management structure and sets out the provisions for proper conduct during the procurement process.
The Bill, currently under debate, makes provision for a Central Procurement Board which will replace the current Tender Board. The Bill further provides for preference to be given to local products, previously disadvantaged women and youth, SMEs and Namibian enterprises in general.