The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) has taken decisive action to address the ombudsman’s report, which questioned its recruitment of 14 new staff, finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said in parliament last week.
Shiimi said this while responding to questions posed to him in the National Assembly by National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) MP Josef Kauandenge, who wanted to know from Shiimi what the CPBN is doing to rectify the mistakes as identified by Ombudsman John Walters.
In his report, Walters found that the controversial recruitments and appointments at CPBN were irregular, unfair and prejudicial to other candidates.
In April and May last year, the CPBN board appointed 14 new staff members.
“I am informed that the outcome of the recruitment process was rather unintended and unfortunate, as all Namibians, irrespective of race or ethnicity, were invited to apply for the advertised positions,” Shiimi told lawmakers.
However, Shiimi said, the CPBN has started addressing the findings of the ombudsman’s report and certain actions were already implemented, such as the revision of recruitment strategy to ensure diversity in its recruitment to align it to the Employment Equity Act.
Furthermore, the finance minister also responded to Kauandenge, who likewise alleged that the eight catering companies selected by the CPBN to distribute food to hostels in Oshakati and Ondangwa were wholly owned by entrepreneurs from one ethnic group.
To this, Shiimi said, the catering bid was widely advertised in the local print media, as well as on the website of the CPBN.
However, he said, the board had a strong view on empowering Namibian entities – and as such, reached consensus with the education ministry that only Namibians should take part in the bid, so much so that it required bidders to have 100% Namibian ownership, of which no less than 51% of that ownership was required to vest in previously disadvantaged Namibians.
“What is of crucial importance is the fact that the bid was set up in such a way that it requires bidders to be based and operate in the region under the lots they were bidding for. The bidders who were selected for wards were bidders who could prove, amongst others, that they were based and operate in the regions that they were bidding for,” Shiimi explained.
This, according to Shiimi, was done in accordance with the directive issued by the finance ministry on May 2019 and re-issued on November last year on the reservation to local suppliers.
“The evaluation criteria that was used in this bid was well known to all participating bidders through a fair and transparent process of evaluation by an independent bid evaluation committee,” he added.