WINDHOEK – The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) recently responded to media reports suggesting irregularities and/or shortcomings within the central procurement agency
In a press release, corporate communications specialist Helena Veico refuted claims that CPBN is “furthering Chinese interests at the expense of local firms” by virtue of awarding bids to foreign companies.
“During the first quarter of 2019, the CPBN awarded two contracts for construction work on Valombola and Nakayale vocational centres amounting to N$27 695 420.10 and N$37 780 243.33, respectively, to Africa Civil Engineering CC. jv China State Construction Engineering Corporation following the recommendation of two different independent bid evaluation committees as the lowest evaluated substantially responsive bidder,” explained Veico. In addition she explained the Board “resolved to engage public entities to use open national bidding process” in terms of section 29 (a) of the Public Procurement Act, which allows for participation in the procurement process with regard to work-related bids to be limited strictly to Namibian citizens or alternatively motivates for a deviation from this advantage accorded to Namibians only.
Pertaining to media reports alleging CPBN lacks expertise and leadership, she emphasised that they (CPBN) did not yet finalise their recruitment process due to challenges faced with the Public Procurement Act “which is still new to everyone”. Veico continued that the entity however welcomes support from stakeholders in order to address the lack of needed skills and resources.
Responding to reports of leadership challenges the spokesperson said CPBN differs from other conventional boards in the sense that it needs to meet more times per year.
“For CPBN to fulfil its mandate, the Board is required to meet four times a month, sometimes even more,” she said. On the fact the chairperson and deputy chairperson also serve as administrative and deputy administrative heads, Veico stressed this has the effect that the “Board must be more involved in the organisation, especially during its set-up, drawing from the diverse skillset and experience of the board members.” According to her the entity is doing well in areas like external procurement, but however still needs to improve in other segments like governance.
Veico further ascribed the current delays in the public procurement process to influencing factors such as standard bidding documents, designed in different formats by the Public Procurement Unit as per category of procurement, understanding and meaning of the act, staff capacity at public entities as well as lack of manpower at the CPBN. In addition she mentioned the application of the security clearing (vetting) process (directive from the Ministry of Finance) enforced on all potential applicants for vacant positions as a contributing factor for the delay in filling vacant posts and also the termination of fixed contracts of staff on their payroll as from 1 April 2019.
“We wish to refute the allegations of infighting amongst the executive team of the CPBN,” said the spokesperson. She argued that a difference of opinions and work methodologies amongst people coming from different jobs, now working together, does not necessarily “constitute or warrant allegations of infighting”.
Veico however admitted CPBN could at times not respond timeously to media queries on all the above issues due to limited capacity and time constrains, but felt it is “quite disheartening to see the media indulging in negative reporting without substantiated information as this can be detrimental to the image of the CPBN”.
In conclusion she emphasised CPBN does recognise the very important role the media play in creating platforms on which they (CPBN) can educate and inform their stakeholders.
New Era Reporter
2019-05-09 09:27:59 2 months ago