Namibia -Ministry Of Transport Responds To MANWU Over Road And Rail Construction Petition

The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) handed over a petition to the Road Authority and the Ministry of Transport demanding a stop to the current bidding process for the Walvis Bay railway project and the Hosea Kutako dual carriage road project.

The Transport infrastructure improvement project is one of the governments initiatives for achieving their national development goal, in terms of Namibia, becoming a regional logistics hub for Southern Africa.

To support this goal, Namibia has recognised the need to initiate the transport infrastructure projects under the TIIP – Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project. This project includes, for the rail sector – the upgrading of the 210km Walvis Bay-Kransberg railway section. The Ministry of Transport is the executing agency for aspects of the TIIP project that involves rail, whilst the Roads Authority will execute the road aspects that make up the total TIIP project.

To implement the project the government approached the African Development Bank for a loan to complement its own resources and thereby mobilising the required funding for the projects. The loan agreement totalling N$5,522,000,00. was signed on 28 March 2018, by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the government.

As with all loan agreements of this nature they come with certain procurement requirements and the African Development Bank (AfDB) is no different. The loan agreement specified that the procurement of goods, works and services are to be done according the AfDB Procurement Methods and Procedures and the agreement specifies the procurement packages. In order to comply with national laws, the Minister of Finance granted an exemption from the Provision of the Public Procurement Act (Act 15 of 2015) and Regulations in terms of section 4 (1)(2) in order for the TIIP components of rail and road to be procured in line with the signed agreement.

Per the loan agreement requirements, the Ministry of Transport as the executing authority advertised for International Competitive bidding for the procurement of rail goods and international re qualification for rail and road works. Specifically, the tender for the supply of rails and turnouts, which closed on the 21/11/2018 – Six bids were received. The bids comprised of Namibian companies in joint venture with foreign companies. The ministry has completed the evaluation of the bids and has received no objection from the AfDB for the award to the successful bidder. (Not named in the media statement).

In terms of the pre-qualification for rail works, nine firms complied with the requirements and will soon be requested to submit their bids. Two Namibian firms in joint ventures with foreign companies are among those that bid.

In September last year the Ministry of Transport following the local industry uproar, regarding the criteria and requirements for bidding and pre-qualification - resulted in the Ministry of Transport engaging with the AfDB, in order to relax some of the stringent procurement requirements.

Whilst the Ministry understands the objection of the Union with regard to the development of the local construction industry, the Ministry, like all other ministries in countries that loan money for development, must take into consideration the requirements of the agreement. Hence the encouragement of Joint Ventures between local and foreign entities.

Further meetings are to be held between the Ministry of Transport and the Union.

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