N$1.44bn in tenders in six months
According to the CPBN’s acting chairman and head of administration, Amon Ngavetene, only one of these companies is not 100% Namibian owned.
The tenders include the establishment of schools, vocational training centres and health facilities; the supply of food to schools as well as telecommunication and security services; the maintenance of roads, and supplies for hospitals, clinics and cleaning services.
The board currently manages 72 contracts, of which only six are not on track, he said. One of these contracts has been suspended and six have not yet submitted feedback, while 19 were awarded during the last three months, and therefore have not yet been followed up on.
Of the total contracts, 33 are on track, he said, adding that six are delivering above expectation.
Ngavetene explained that legislation on procurement established the CPBN, a review panel and the procurement policy unit as independent entities in the finance ministry.
The board can now be asked to review awarded tenders after regulations were published last month, but if a bidder is still not satisfied, they can approach the review panel for a decision.
The procurement policy unit’s mandate is to provide an overview and to give advice to the minister, he said.
Contract extensions decrease
As the first step in the acquisition of high-value projects, government agencies must first submit an individual procurement plan to the board for approval.
In six months – from April to September - six plans worth N$513.4 million were received. This is N$116.8 million less than the same period last year.
The decrease may reflect the weakening economy, but could also point to the artificial division of tenders to avoid the board’s scrutiny by limiting values to below its threshold, he said.
Ngavetene said the CPBN’s planning has generally been more efficient, with only three applications for changes to existing contracts worth N$14.7 million approved for the period.
Three other contracts worth N$204.8 million were extended, compared to nine in 2021, to the tune of N$271.6 million.
“The decrease in contract extensions is encouraging, because it reflects better procurement management,” he said. Only one direct procurement - when only one supplier is considered - was awarded, compared to six last year, he said.
Four tenders worth N$74.6 million were cancelled.
Three of these tenders were for security services for Telecom Namibia, the Namibian Training Authority and the City of Windhoek.
Asked about security companies’ accusations that the board is hampering better salaries and working conditions for guards - by awarding contracts to companies that do not pay the minimum wage - Ngavetene said the claims are “ridiculous”.
Bidding companies must submit costs and, when awarded, the agreement obliges them to pay the minimum wage, as the security industry is regulated, he insisted.
Furthermore, Ngavetene said over the six-month period, 11 bidders approached the review panel, of which four applications were decided in favour of the board while two are still ongoing. In five instances, the board was instructed to review the awarded tenders.