Public not extensively consulted on Procurement Bill: Swanu

02 Oct 2013 07:10
WINDHOEK, 02 OCT (NAMPA) - Swanu of Namibia president Usutuaije Maamberua says it appears as if important stakeholders such as unions, business communities, women, youth and people with disabilities have not been extensively consulted on the Public Procurement Bill.
Maamberua made the statement during discussions on the Public Procurement Bill in the National Assembly on Tuesday, saying procurement is very important for the economy of the country, development, as well as for good governance and accountability.
“When we are developing a framework or a law on procurement it is imperative that the people whom we are developing this law for are properly consulted and their contribution on the Bill is taken note of,” the Member of Parliament (MP) said.
The Bill is designed to provide the legal framework for in-depth reforms to the public procurement system, which is essential to implement Government’s programmes in a manner which would achieve value for money with a high level of efficiency and effectiveness.
It also seeks to repeal the current procurement legislation, the Tender Board Act of 1996, which has been on the Ministry of Finance’s statute books for almost two decades as its provisions are no longer sufficient to achieve the country’s developmental objectives.
Introducing the Public Procurement Bill last month, the Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila explained that extensive research was done on the different legal frameworks that exist in both developed and developing countries.
She added that the Bill is inspired by international trends and best practices, and was crafted to meet Namibia’s unique needs.
The Swanu president, however, does not see any evidence in the minister’s statement or the Bill that consultations with the Namibian population took place.
Providing information on the issue, Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein said he recalls that while he served in the Finance Ministry as Permanent Secretary, consultations were held with members of the public on four different occasions.
He said the first consultation was held at Heja Lodge, and the public was informed about discussions on the Bill through advertisements in local newspapers.
“The second one was when the Finance Ministry had a conference with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Public procurement was a discussion at that venue,” the Trade and Industry Minister recalled.
The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung was the third organisation to hold discussions on the principals of the Bill, while the last consultation was a workshop organised by the line ministry, where MPs and members of the public were invited.
Maamberua rejected Schlettwein’s response, saying he wanted the information to come from the minister herself after the Bill has been discussed.