CIF elated about local procurement directive

Home Business CIF elated about local procurement directive

WINDHOEK – As the Namibian construction sector continues to find itself between a rock and a hard place, the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) continues to advocate and engage with senior officials and government ministers to maintain efforts of raising awareness of the need to support the local construction sector. 
In order to secure the survival of the construction industry and the necessary spillover effect to other sectors, and in order to maintain the Namibian construction capacity, the CIF consistently emphasises that Namibian companies need to be adequately safe-guarded and that measures are taken and programmes are implemented immediately to protect the local industry.

The CIF’s ongoing message is that work needs to be availed for the local construction industry. Given the dependency of the industry on government procurement and the size of the private sector, CIF feels it is impossible for all companies to diversify their markets and find alternative sources of income. 

Bärbel Kirchner, consulting general manager of the CIF says: “Part of the CIF’s discussion included that government would issue and implement well governed local procurement directives. So we are elated about this step taken – it is in the right direction. Our industry needs work like yesterday to ensure their survival. So it critical that tenders are advertised and that awards are done, so that contractors can commence with work immediately.” 

The CIF also remains keen that the opportunities for further regulation within the New Procurement Act of 31 December 2015 will soon be realised, and that procurement preferences or similar initiatives such as set-asides will be regulated to protect the local construction sector. 

The CIF leadership has emphasised that the public procurement policies need to be scrutinised to avoid disqualification of local contractors based on financial requirements such as turnover or cash flow. Alternatively, CIF advocates for the projects needs to be reasonably sized so that local contractors not only meet the technical requirements but also the financial requirements. 

Said Kirchner: “In current economic times it is unacceptable that prequalification requirements are so high or tender specifications are of such a nature that it excludes local contractors.”

The CIF recognises the diverse and competing interests of various sectors and thus competing interests of respective government authorities. However, the organisation believes that it is extremely important that government acutely focuses its efforts on supporting Namibian contractors. 

“The CIF recognises that the government is facing budgetary constraints for a number of reasons and that this situation is further aggravated by the current drought situation, which requires all Namibians to stand together and to support those that are affected. At times like this, when the livelihood of many people is being affected, it is truly important that local Namibia companies are given explicit support by our government. It would also be of undisputed benefit to the Namibian economy, due their contribution to government revenue – so we are thankful for this commitment,” Kirchner added.   

The CIF reiterates that Namibian contractors currently still have remaining capacity to develop the much-needed infrastructure in Namibia, and that local contractors should not by any means have to compete with foreign contractors under current circumstances. It is also very important that stern measures be introduced to prevent tenderpreneurs, to prevent poor quality of work and uncompleted projects. This is to make sure that the required standard and quality of work is met according to the specifications of the contract.

“Industry protection and regulation can be achieved with the establishment of a Namibian construction council.  Hence, it is of extreme high importance that a national construction council is established as soon as possible through an Act of Parliament. This would ensure that every business operating in the industry would be registered and graded according to capacity of the company in relation to the size of project it can handle and be awarded contracts accordingly,” Kirchner concluded.