…As he unveils procurement board
Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has urged the inaugural Central Procurement Board members to ensure more transparency in the public procurement system while at the same time guarding the state against tender inflations which have become the order of the day during the tender board era. Schlettwein boasted that the new Public Procurement Act contains the best “international” lessons which embeds strong governance practices when he unveiled the new board. “The Public Procurement Act encapsulates best international lessons, embeds strong governance practices and streamlines public procurement as an important developmental tool in the triple context of national economic development, social advancement and environmental sustainability,” said Schlettwein. Schlettwein pointed out that the “administrative apparatus” of the current Tender Board as the reason as to why it was being replaced with something new. “There has been a lot of publicity on the need to improve the ethics, efficiency and effectiveness of the current Tender board and its administrative apparatus in terms of governance and the application of the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability as well as value for money.
Schlettwein said: “Effective performance and internal control mechanisms also came under question with a result that some of the tender prices get over inflated”. As a consequence, government and public enterprises have occasionally been left to deal with numerous court cases due to the manner in which state tenders are awarded and handled. On many occasions, the Tender Board has come under heavy criticism that friends, family and politically well-connected individuals secured state tenders ahead of the ordinary Namibians. However, Schlettwein believes the new regime (Public Procurement Act) will be more “transparent” in the optimization of development goals. “It is expected that new regime under the Public Procurement Act will greatly usher in expertise, ethical and effective leadership, public accountability and legitimacy and achieve greater value for money so that the intended developmental goals are optimized,” added Schlettwein. The Public Procurement Act and its Regulations will come into operation as 1 April 2017 in line with Government Gazette number 6255, a day after Tender Board of Namibia is legally dissolved, Schlettwein said.
The recruitment process
There has been a lot of speculation in the media over the past few days over the possible candidates expected to serve on Central Procurement. Schlettwein said the recruitment process was overseen by members from the public, private sectors and the Consulting Synergies Africa. With regard to Central Procurement Board, 67 applications were received and of this figure, only 35 candidates were shortlisted for interview on the basis of gender, experience in procurement, expertise and experience. The Central Procurement Board is the overall governance body and consists of nine members of which not more than five should be of the same sex. The chairperson and the deputy chairperson will be employed on a full-time basis for a period of five years. Meanwhile, the remaining seven members will be employed on a part-time basis on a three-year contract. The founding Chairperson of the Central Procurement Board is Patrick Swartz, an accountant by profession and a lecturer at the University of Namibia accounting lecturer Patrick Swartz was and another accountant Lischen Ramakutla is the new Deputy Chairperson.
The other members who will serve on a part-time basis are: Maria Nakale (business), Maria Iyambo (engineering), Hendrik Loftie-Eaton (engineering), Hilja Nandago-Herman (law), Titus Ndove (economics), Epaphras Shilongo (engineering) and Jeremia Mwadinohamba (business). On the other hand, the twenty eight applications were received for the Review Panel, and out of those, fifteen applicants did not meet the shortlisting criteria. This means that only thirteen candidates were interviewed for the Review Panel, out of which the following successful candidates were appointed: Kenandei Tjivikua (Chairperson), Michael Gawasab (Deputy Chairperson), Ono-Robby Nangolo (law), Amon Ngavetene (law), Selma-Penna Utonih (engineering) and Toska Sem (economics) Schlettwein said the panel of the Procurement Board will be made up of fifteen experts who will serve on a temporary basis to “adjudicate” over reviews of tender bids in an event that any dispute arises. “For the remaining nine positions, the government has resolved to approach tertiary institutions to make nominations for potential candidates for the selection process. I shall table the remaining nine members of the Review Panel once the selection process is concluded,” stated Schlettwein.