Government, through the Ministry of Finance (MoF), last week Thursday availed N$550 000 for the development and execution of an accredited procurement study program at three local public institutions of higher learning.
The launch of the procurement management program makes it available on the academic and training calendars of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Namibia Institute for Public Administration and Management (NIPAM).
Delivering the keynote address at the launch on behalf of the finance minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, his senior economic advisor Penda Ithindi said the funding will enable the conceptualisation, curriculum and course content development.
According to Shiimi, the objective of the cooperation agreement is to respond to capacity development and training needs in the public procurement sphere.
“The new law has ushered in a new paradigm shift in the conduct of the public procurement. The policy objectives enshrined in the public procurement Act are to, among others, inject greater transparency and accountability in the public procurement processes,” he said.
Further Shiimi noted that the law will curb corruption and promote integrity in the conduct of public procurement, promote value for money by striking a fine balance between quality and cost.
Among these objectives the new course is expected to promote local economic development and empowerment through local preferences and sourcing for locally produced goods and services, more so, the sourcing of goods and services produced by small-medium enterprises, youth and women entrepreneurs.
“To achieve these lofty objectives, the implementation and institutional arrangements demanded by the law are those of checks and balances through an extensive set of implementing bodies, ranging from the procurement policy unit at the MoF, the central procurement board, the procurement management units, and procurement committees at all public entities,” outlined Shiimi.
He added that a critical mass of skills is needed across the public sector to efficiently execute this function, realising internal operational efficiency and achieving an optimal turnaround in the adjudication of bids. He further emphasised that the development of qualifying training in public procurement is an important step in the process of professionalisation and the creation of a development path for procurement practitioners and procurement cadres in Namibia.
For public procurement to catalyse local production and manufacturing capacity through local sourcing, Shiimi indicated that an up-to-date database of locally produced goods and services is needed as well as research on new product development. He concluded that enhancing the complexity of existing products as well as supporting the monitoring and evaluation to objectives will also increase local production.