The United People’s Movement has come out strongly in support of the Namibian Construction Industry and all its affiliates in their condemnation of the continuous awarding of tenders to foreign owned companies at the expense of Namibians.
Windhoek High Court Judge Eileen Rakow last Friday dismissed an urgent application by Chinese-owned Zhong Mei Engineering against the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) to return N$33 million from their bank account in lieu of outstanding taxes.
Zhong Mei approached the High Court on an urgent basis after NamRA used a section of the Tax Act to instruct Standard Bank Namibia to transfer the money to them. It claims the Chinese-owned company, who scooped several lucrative road construction tenders valued at almost N$1 billion failed to pay taxes for several years.
In a strongly worded statement, the party asked how a foreign-owned company that has been identified by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) as a tax defaulter, be awarded a tender worth N$340 million.
“How was the tender process handled?” they want to know. According to UPM, in order to qualify to participate in the bidding process, Zhong Mei should have submitted a certificate of good standing from NamRA and the seizing of the N$33 million from its bank account shows that it was not in good standing.
“It is clear that Namibian contractors are well capable of doing the work required, however, the Namibian government seems not to be prepared to give their own citizens an opportunity to participate in these tenders as they are classified as not meeting the requirements which are so outrageously inflated and set above the potential of most Namibian contractors,” UPM steamed.
It further called for the cancellation of the tender for the road upgrade between Usakos and Karibib and that it be re-advertised in smaller portions with the technical specifications to be reviewed. “We also demand that the government give Namibian-owned contractors preference on all infrastructure and building projects, as to create decent work in the construction sector, and that every Namibian contractor be given the opportunity to prove themselves in this competitive industry, no matter the size of the organisation,” UPM stated.
In conclusion, they said, the Namibian people should be afforded their rights and preferences as citizens of this country and “we cannot continue to allow the government to continue to prefer foreigners over the citizens of this great nation”.