New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Poor performance halts VTC construction Poor performance halts VTC construction

Poor performance halts VTC construction Poor performance halts VTC construction

2022-05-27  John Muyamba

Poor performance halts VTC construction Poor performance halts VTC construction

Elizabeth Hiyolwa 

John Muyamba


NKURENKURU – The construction of the much anticipated Nkurenkuru Vocational Training Centre came to an abrubt end as government agencies squable with the appointed contractor over alleged poor performance.

The Kavango West Police commander Josephat Abel recently raised concern over the waste of government resources at the abandoned site, as construction seem to have halted.

There are no contractors on site, and materials have been reported stolen.

This, he said, was after two cases of theft were reported: Nkurenkuru Cr39/04/2022, where it is alleged that a suspect used an unknown object to cut the fence and steal 35 x Ohorongo bags of cement, valued at N$3 325 on 19 April 2022, and Nkurenkuru Cr11/05/2022 where it is alleged the suspect(s) stole 350x bags of cement, wood cutting saw and a load of concrete stones, valued at N$113 000.  

He said he was, thus, prompted to go to the site, since his office keeps receiving reports of theft – but to his surprise, the project looks abandoned. “Thousands of dollars of valuable materials have been stolen; thus, I came to acquaint myself with the situation on the ground. To my disappointment, there is nobody here on the site,” he stated.

The commissioner further said investigations are still being carried out, which is a challenge because the complainants are not available.

“It is worrisome in the sense that it is a project that is supposed to be going on, and whoever is stealing from here, the manager is supposed to know who is stealing from him or from the employer. There is nobody here on this site. Where are they? It is very worrisome. It is strange,” he said.

No arrest or recovery of the stolen materials has yet been made. 

In 2020, construction kicked off and was expected to take 24 months to complete.

The Namibia Training Authority (NTA) spokesperson Mornay Louw said the project is on halt due to a dispute between the contractor, Neu Olulya Trading CC, and NTA.

This project is valued at N$51 million, and it consists of two phases: Phase 1a, awarded by the NTA, involved the installation of bulk services at the site at the cost of N$16.1 million, and it was completed in April 2020.

Phase 1b involves the construction of infrastructure at a cost of N$35 million, and it commenced in September 2020.

“The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) adjudicated and awarded the tender for Phase 1b. The CPBN appointed Neu Olulya Trading CC as the contractor. Details regarding the tender, as well as previous projects undertaken by the contractor, are in the CPBN’s remit to disclose,” Louw noted. 

Louw also said as per the project contract, Phase 1b was to be completed by September 2022. 

However, despite several remedial efforts on the part of the NTA, the contractor’s failure to deliver against the project and contractual milestones necessitated the NTA to proceed with the termination of the contract.

“The contractor opted to contest the NTA’s claim of fundamental breach of contract. However, an adjudication process upheld the NTA’s stance that the contractor’s actions amounted to a fundamental breach.”

“Unfortunately, the aforementioned processes have brought this construction project to an abrupt halt. The NTA now appreciates that the project will not be completed by September 2022 as per the project plan. However, we remain committed to the completion thereof as soon as a replacement contractor is appointed,” he noted.

In terms of Section 8 (c) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), CPBN is mandated to direct and supervise accounting officers in managing the implementation of procurement contracts awarded by the board, and this responsibility is carried out by the monitoring and evaluation unit at CPBN.

“The first monitoring and evaluation (M&E) visit to the project was conducted on 10 November 2020, and it was followed by another visit in April 2021. It is during these M&E site visits that CPBN discovered there was poor/slow performance in the implementation of the project by the contractor,’’ said the CPBN spokesperson, Johanna Kambala.

She said some of the observations made during the site visits discovered that for the six months (October 2020 – March 2021), the contractor managed to construct only platforms for the administration, sewing and culinary blocks. 

However, the said platforms were not completely done, as laboratory tests needed to be conducted before the final layers are constructed.

“There were barely materials on site; the workers on site had to wait for nearly three months to get materials such as sand, cement and stones to start casting the concrete manholes. There was a lack of manpower on site, as there were only 13 employees, comprising of seven labourers, five plant operators and one site agent,’’ she said.

Kambala also noted the majority of the plant equipment were not functional.

“No security and safety officer on site, despite these items being part of the preliminaries and generals. In addition to the above findings, CPBN received documentary evidence from the client (NTA) indicating similar findings,’’ she said.

Kambala told New Era various project meetings were also held between the project manager and the contractor to discuss the slow progress of the project as well as address the poor performance by the contractor. 

“The project manager furnished the contractor with a number of notifications to raise concerns regarding the slow progress and poor performance on site,’’ she noted.

“Furthermore, the contractor was given various opportunities to submit catch-up plans on how they will address the slow progress but still failed to implement their catch-up plans. The lack of performance by the contractor is further evident on the project financial expenditure that was at 7.5% on 10 August 2021, whereas contract period/time had lapsed with 47.5 % by then,’’ she said.

CPBN was alerted of the project delays and poor performance by the contractor and resolved to terminate the contract at its board meeting held on 30 September 2021.

“The contractor is disputing the contract termination by the board, and an adjudicator was appointed in February 2022. As a result, the construction on site has been halted. The adjudication process is ongoing, and CPBN is awaiting the outcome of the adjudication process,’’ she noted.

 This publication was unable to get hold of the contractor for comments before going to print.

2022-05-27  John Muyamba

Share on social media