Govt not entertained by exclusive deals for MULS project

02 Oct 2015 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 02 OCT (NAMPA) - The Minister of Urban and Rural Development has strongly warned that Government will not entertain attempts from people whose actual interest may be to secure exclusive deals from the ministry on the Massive Urban Land Servicing (MULS) project.
Responding to questions by DTA's Member of Parliament (MP), Vipuakuje Muharukua on the MULS project in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday, Sophia Shaningwa said Government has thus far received 14 pledges in total but their pledges are ‘complicated.’
She said in a number of cases, when the pledging parties are engaged with to provide clarity, it has turned to that their services are actually not free of cost and have strings attached.
“Do something for me and I will do something for you. We are scrutinizing these pledges and we will not entertain attempts for people whose actual interest may be to secure exclusive deals from the ministry on this national project, while their services are actually at cost like any other service provider out there,” she noted.
She said the assessment and quantification of pledges are still underway and ongoing.
The majority of the pledges received thus far are generally described as “free advice,” with only a few being specific, and some indicating the number of plots over which the pledged advisory services apply to adding, “This is not an easy process and involves negotiations.”
She indicated that the final decision also involves evaluating if the offer is indeed cost-effective and beneficial to Government and that it will not be comparatively cheaper to procure such services through an open call for proposals.
As part of the resource mobilization effort for the project, her ministry has with approval from the Treasury opened a bank account into which monetary contributions or donations can be deposited.
The account will be subject to audits by Treasury and Auditor General's Office.
She stressed that for proper recording of any pledges that the project is receiving, her ministry has developed an inventory list indicating the various pledges.
As part of the effort to minimize cost, the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development has also written to all Offices/Ministries/Agencies (O/M/A) including parastatals, regional councils and local authorities, to indicate if they have any in-house land development related professionals, and earth-moving equipment amongst others.
The idea is to determine if some of the required inputs exist within Government and the possibility of such capacity to be mobilized to assist in the MULS project’s process and thus reduce the quantity of goods and services that have to be procured at cost.
She further informed the August House that so far, Government has not yet spent any money on the pilot project and no formal agreements have yet been concluded with any of the pledging parties.
Initial engagements have been made with some of the pledging parties, especially those whose expertise is required in the initial stage of the project, such as the preparation of engineering designs that are required for construction tenders and the actual servicing process.
She however noted that the MULS project shall in the future cover other municipalities, towns, village councils and settlements in the country.
It currently only covers the towns of Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Oshakati.
A detailed report on the scope of the work involved, timelines, the total funding requirements and the funds available now and to be made available in the coming Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) will be provided to MPs in due course.
Shaningwa explained that the price at which the serviced land will be offered for sale to the applicants, in a transparent manner and on a first-come-first served basis, will be determined taking into account the input costs and others as considerations as may be determined.
“The lower the inputs, the lower the end price of the serviced land.
“As the Honourable Members may be aware, our approach is to have the land serviced at reasonable or minimal cost and it is in this regard that we are calling all Namibians in the different sectors and levels of society to make some contribution, financial and voluntarism,” she said, noting that such contributions can be made at the various input levels of land servicing, planning, engineering design, construction and earth-moving equipment parties amongst others.