MPs fail to turn up for consultations on Public Procurement Bill

03 Nov 2013 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 03 NOV (NAMPA) – A large number of Members of Parliament (MPs) failed to turn up for consultations on the Public Procurement Bill on Friday, leaving those MPs who were present frustrated.
The Bill was withdrawn from parliament about two weeks ago, and was put up for debate in order to provide further clarity on issues which were raised during workshops and in parliament.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob withdrew the bill when Finance Minister Saara Kugongelwa-Amadhila was out of the country on official duties.
On Friday, only 10 parliamentarians, including Kungongelwa-Amadhila, turned up to discuss the bill.
Other MPs who were present included the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) Theo-Ben Gurirab, Minister of Defence Nahas Angula, Minister of Information and Communication Technology Joel Kaapanda and his deputy Stanley Simaata, Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Pohamba Shifeta, Kazenambo Kazenambo, Moses Amweelo and Billy Mwaningange.
After waiting for almost an hour hoping that more MPs show up, Simaata said it was not worthwhile to continue with the intended presentations on the bill.
“The majority who are not here are the majority who, when the bill comes back to the chamber, will be raising some of these fundamental issues. Thus, the way I see it, it is better to reconvene this meeting,” he suggested.
On his part, Gurirab said the way the bill was being handled was not appropriate, adding that he was outside the country when he learned that the bill was withdrawn.
He said MPs were notified about the meeting by the Finance Minister and yet the room was empty, before stating that when parliament resumes for business next Tuesday, an appropriate date for the meeting could be set once again.
Defence Minister Angula said MPs were asked to give written submissions, stating that such options give possibilities for people to enrich the bill.
Angula said his experience with some of these matters is that perhaps somebody is putting a veto on the bill.
“If people do not turn up and they go and make noise on the floor of parliament, it might be a story that perhaps the thing is not welcome,”Angula said.
Kazenambo shared the same sentiments as Simaata, suggesting that the bill be thrown back to the Speaker of the NA in order for him to speak to various chief whips of political parties.
“It should then become mandatory that various political parties talk to their members of parliament to attach the seriousness that it deserves to this matter, and calling a dedicated day to address this issues to get it off the table,” Kazenambo proposed.
He added that perhaps next week, the Speaker should speak to parliament that there is a bill - a document of national interest - which other people are spending 24 hours working on.
“Yet, MPs are making noise on it and when given opportunities and platforms, they do not turn up,” said Kazenambo.
Gurirab then adjourned the sitting, saying together with the Finance Minister, they will contact the Prime Minister´s Office on the way forward and set a date when this important piece of legislature will be discussed further.