Sunday 20 June 2021
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Treasury promises transparent oil storage bidding

Two senior government officials close to the projects said the problem was that Treasury seemed intent on doing this by way of appointing a private partner which would bypass Namibian procurement laws. Schlettwein took the unsolicited bid to Cabinet despite the absence of permission to deviate from procurement regulations.
New Steering Committee chairperson, Penda Ithindi who is Technical Economic Advisor to the Finance Minister and Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, this week said all procurement regulations will be followed during the sourcing of a private partner.
Although he admitted that Treasury had attempted to sneak Vitol into the facility’s management through the backdoor, Ithindi said open bidding process will be held going forward.
“We are no longer considering that option. Namcor and Namport will run the operations but of course we know they do not have the capacity to go at it alone, so there needs to be a private partner,” said Ithindi.
He added: “We need a strategic partner for a short period while they develop capacity. The process will be open for competition.”
“It is obvious that there will be spare capacity because the strategic stock will be utilized by government and therefore we will consider renting out the excess capacity,” he explained.
When asked why Treasury assumed control of the project instead of the line ministry, Ithindi said: “A decision was made that all projects involving huge costs should be overseen by the Finance Ministry to ensure that all costs are properly maintained.”
Ithindi said the roles for both Namport and Namcor in the project have been confirmed.
Ithindi replaced permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy Simeon Negumbo, who was relegated to become the deputy chair.
Ithindi also rejected claims that Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein is lobbying for Vitol.
Critics have since claimed that Treasury is compromised because it has already chosen sides, a situation which could discourage potential bidders from vying to get a stake in the facility.
The Mines Ministry had previously established a widely represented Steering Committee to represent the interests of the state in this multi-billion dollar project, which the Minister of Finance sought to take over from the Minister of Mines & Energy as previously reported by this publication.
The control of the facility was the subject of an intense battle between Schlettwein and Alweendo.
There seems to be divisions in the committee already, with some members accusing Ithindi of twisting the committee’s recommendations.
Minutes from meetings held by the Steering Committee indicate that the Committee advised against leasing or handing over the facility to a private company.
“The committee never said the facility must be leased to private firms as purported by some senior government officials,” said a committee source.
Ithindi refuted claims that he has twisted recommendations and indicated that all recommendations are taken as a collective by the committee.

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