The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia notes with concern the article that was published by New Era Newspaper as the content is misleading and portrays an image that the EIF as an institution is not transparent, which is a damaging image of the institution. This letter is therefore submitted to provide context and perspective to the procurement of 18 tractors and rippers in response to the issues raised therein.
As a background, the Fund successfully secured resources from the Green Climate Fund through a project entitled ‘‘Climate Resilient Agriculture in three of the Vulnerable Extreme northern crop-growing regions’’. The project is executed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry while the Fund is the Implementing Entity.
With regard to the wrong assumptions and facts presumed by the newspaper on the procurement on the 18 tractors and rippers, the Environmental Investment Fund would like to provide clarity on the matter and place on record the following; on the 08th of June 2017, the Ministry of Finance granted a procurement exemption for all projects funded by the Green Climate Fund through the Fund from the application of the Public Procurement Act, 2015. While this exemption is aimed at expediting procurement activities, it should be clear that it does not permit the Fund to violate international or national procurement practices but rather permits us to follow and apply the procurement policies and guidelines of the Green Climate Fund.
The procurement of the 18 tractors and rippers formed part of a number of open national bidding documents for goods and services on 16th of February 2018. In total, 13 bids were received for the supply of tractors and rippers. The procurement process was successfully completed with a local entity being awarded the contract. Contrary to the claim as published, the entity successfully delivered all 18 tractors and 18 rippers to the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi regions.
Furthermore, as per tender specifications, training for 46 drivers was undertaken to ensure that there are adequate skills in the regions to operate the tractors. These tractors provided ploughing services for many small-scale crop farmers in the above-mentioned regions during the 2018/2019 rainy seasons. The Independent Evaluation Unit of the Green Climate Fund conducted a country mission in March 2019, visiting project sites and verified the equipment that had been purchased.
It should be noted that the tender that was advertised in August 2019 is for the supply of an additional 18 tractors and 18 rippers. In total, the project will support 36 tractors and 36 rippers to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to implement its Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture.
The report alleging that there was interference by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to influence the procurement outcome is unfounded and deceptive. The project under discussion continues to be progressive with high impact milestones being recorded, for example:
– Renovation and upgrade of the Mashare Agriculture Development Institute into the Mashare Climate Resilient Center of Excellency is progressing well with N$20 million investment on this activity. Moreover, as part of the transformation, one tractor and ripper is allocated to Mashare Agriculture Development Institute and was used to produce over 90 tonnes of drought resilient millet seeds.
– A Crop Insurance Scheme is currently being implemented to reduce vulnerability arising from crop failure with the initial 150 farmers covered under the scheme while targeting an additional 500 farmers by 2020.
– Eight demonstration sites on conservation agriculture and horticulture have been identified and currently under development. These demonstration sites will benefit more than 5,000 farmers by December 2020.
The Fund is one of the only 89 globally accredited entities to the Green Climate Fund and is one of only eight from Africa. To date, the Fund has successfully attracted more than N$660 million in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund. The entity has also received a Certificate of Good Governance from the Association of African Development Financing Institutions (AADFI), demonstrating the strength of the Fund’s prudential, governance and financial systems. That certificate rated the Fund at B+, one of the top 15 in Africa at the time.
To this end, the Green Climate Fund conducted due diligence on the fiduciary and governance systems of the Fund, a prerequisite to being granted accreditation to access Green Climate Fund resources for climate change activities. The financial and procurement systems in place were found to be of international standards and comparable to major international financing institutions such as the European Investment Bank, French Development Agency and African Development Bank.
The Fund has put in place processes and due diligence systems to ensure that there is value for money in all procurement related matters, especially with funds from the Green Climate Fund and other multilateral agencies and development partners. In addition to the Bid Evaluation Committee and the Procurement Committee, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia has also established other complementing structures such as the Project Steering Committee that oversees implementation of the projects and the Risk Committee that provides oversight in the application of institutional policy to strengthen operational matters of the Fund. Furthermore, the Fund recently established the Review Committee, a subcommittee of the Fund’s Board that serves as a redress mechanism to review processes related to the award of project grants or procurement contracts by the Fund, emanating from public grievances. The overall aim is to promote transparency in our work and build a culture of accountability. We will continuously look towards strengthening our financial systems and procurement processes as the institution endures to grow and reposition ourselves according to form and function.
In future, we propose close engagement before publishing such articles, as they have much bearing not only on the Fund but the Namibian nation as a whole as the work of the Fund has an impact on the lives of many Namibians. More than 21,000 small-scale farming community members across the northeastern parts of the country affected by climate change would be left with uncertain futures should the donor (Green Climate Fund) withdraw support to Namibia based on this misleading article.
We are happy to provide further supporting documents in this regard and we invite you to accompany us to our project sites for on-ground verification. We pride ourselves in having a positive impact on more than 230,000 Namibians being capacitated to address climate change challenges.
The Fund will continue to raise funding for Namibia to assist people affected by drought and other climate-induced threats. Evidently, on the 11th of June 2019, the Fund handed over more than N$86 million to communities affected by climate change in Namibia. In addition, on the 14th of June 2019, the Fund launched a new project in Sesfontein, Kunene Region valued at N$138 million for drought mitigation. All these are realized through our partnerships with multilateral climate funds.
While it is a right for any Namibian to question unethical practices of institutions, we call for closer engagement to ensure that facts are communicated for the public and our multilateral partners. We pride ourselves in being transparent in all our activities by acting in good faith and being diligent in all we do.
The Fund is always happy to provide information, feedback and clarity on matters when requested upon by the media which is instrumental in informing and educating the public when it comes to developmental matters such as those that the Fund is involved with in line with Act 13 of 2001. The media is a strategic partner and cannot overemphasize its importance towards the mission of the Fund that is about promoting the sustainable economic development of Namibia through investment in and promotion of activities and projects that protect and maintain the natural and environmental resources of the country.
In conclusion, we would like to assure you that the Fund followed all due processes and procedures in procuring the above-mentioned 18 tractors and rippers. I would also like to reiterate that the appointed service provider successfully delivered as per the tender requirement and we are pleased with the performance of the equipment. I trust that this will provide sufficient context on the matter. If there are any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
2019-10-22 08:11:10 | 22 days ago