Exclusion from lucrative bid irks construction industry

‘Stringent requirements disadvantage local firms’
Lutombi dismissed claims that Namibian construction companies were excluded, adding that prerequisites were, in fact, lowered with locals in mind.
Ogone Tlhage
The Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) Namibia has hit out at Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi, accusing him of not attending to concerns that local companies were being disadvantaged regarding a tender for rehabilitation work on the Karibib-Usakos road.

The Roads Authority (RA) secured a loan through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and set up pre-qualification requirements for the rehabilitation of the 30-kilometre stretch, which the CIF claimed excluded Namibian-owned construction companies from qualifying.

Federation CEO Bärbel Kirchner said the requirements were too stringent, and that local firms were being locked out of competing.

“In terms of the financial pre-qualification requirements, they are so steep that Namibian contractors cannot participate, especially taking into consideration the recessionary environment in which we operated in over the last seven years,” she said.

According to her, despite KfW financing the rehabilitation of the road, Namibian taxpayers will still be required to finance the loan.

“It seems that we allow ourselves [to be] dictated [to regarding] the terms, unless, of course, the RA – for one or the other reason – is happy to exclude the local contractors.”


She further questioned how, despite frequent consultative meetings between the RA and government, these stringent pre-qualification conditions were set.

“We are seriously disappointed that this is still happening, even though we have engaged not only the RA but also our central government.

“How is this possible in this day and age, when our economy is practically in shambles and we are fighting to create jobs and to ensure that we and our employees have food on our tables?” Kirchner asked.

We eased certain conditions

Lutombi dismissed Kircher’s allegations, stating that the RA had – in fact - relaxed a number of conditions to allow local construction companies to submit their bids.

“We have seen that there are a number of Namibian contractors who have [submitted] their pre-qualifications, so it is not fair to say the process sidelined Namibians,” he said.

“We relaxed a number of issues when you look at the financial aspect. If we were to compare originally, we had to bring it down.”

According to him, the deadline for the bid had been extended as well “to see how we could accommodate more contractors”.