WINDHOEK - The Roads Authority (RA) says it remains committed to the empowerment and promotion of the participation of local contractors in all road construction projects. The Authority has therefore implemented an initiative to classify its service providers for carrying out road projects according to their various levels, taking into account the size of the business, financial capability, human resources, equipment and machinery.
“The classification of contractors in the roads subsector will aim at establishing a list of pre-qualified contractors that will be eligible for the participation in various project types, related to the respective categories of contractors,” explained RA CEO Conrad Lutombi in a recent statement.
Lutombi noted that during the past five years, 84 Namibian contractors and 442 local small businesses carried out road maintenance works under the RA. During the same period, new gravel roads were constructed by 11 emerging contractors with participation of 45 small businesses, including nine labour-based gravel roads and 25 access roads to schools and clinics.
For capital projects, 23 roads were upgraded to bitumen standard, of which six were done by Namibian contractors, while nine other local contractors participated as joint venture partners with foreign contractors. The remaining eight projects were done by foreign contractors. During the construction of these road projects, 339 Namibian entities participated as sub-contractors and SMMEs.
In addition, Lutombi emphasised that during the works for construction and maintenance on all RA road projects, more than 13 000 employment opportunities were created for Namibians. “This is in line with the RA’s SME Development Policy which takes cognizance of the fact that creating employment is one of the major national development goals of the Government of the Republic of Namibia,” Lutombi stated.
Furthermore, in terms of participation of Namibian versus foreign contractors during the past five years, the RA executed road works to the value of approximately N$16.5 billion. Out of this amount, a total of N$9.25 billion value of works were executed by local contractors, translating to approximately 56 percent of the value benefiting local contractors while foreign contractors and Namibian and foreign joint ventures executed N$7.25 billion, or about 44 percent.
Said Lutombi: “For bigger capital projects, the RA has advocated the awarding of road projects to joint ventures between well-established Namibian and international road contractor companies, primarily on the premise of skills transfer, capacity building and growing the Namibian road construction industry. These efforts will continue to benefit local contractors”.
He added that over the past five years, 154 Namibian SMMES and emerging contractors were trained and awarded competency certificates after successful completion of their training.
According to Lutombi the RA has established policies and strategies that develop and enhance the capacity of key service providers, especially the contractors and SMMEs who execute both capital and labour-based road projects across the country, in order to fulfil its responsibility of providing a safe and efficient road sector.
“The classification of contractor’s framework will ensure fair competition and promote participation of small, medium and large contractors in road projects in Namibia as well as to ensure improved quality and high standards of the entire road infrastructure. The classification of contractors’ framework study is ongoing and consultations are taking place with all relevant key stakeholders. It is anticipated that this study will be completed and ready for implementation during the 2019/2020 financial year,” said Lutombi.
The RA CEO also pointed out that during the past five years, the RA constructed and improved its operational facilities such as weighbridges and office accommodation, during which 100 percent of works, valued at close to N$284 million, was carried out by 17 Namibian contractors and SMMEs, resulting in the creation of 486 jobs for Namibians.