Windhoek-Namibian Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi has granted the country’s power utility, Nampower a two-year exemption from the country’s procurement system to allow the company to expedite its planned power projects meant to drive the country to a self-sustainable energy producer.
Shiimi said the decision was taken after a thorough assessment of the company’s ability to implement its own procurement systems in line with the public procurement act. The assessment also covered other three key institutions of NamWater, Meatco, and City of Windhoek but they failed to meet the laid down procedures.
“This exemption was granted in line with Section 4(2) of the Public Procurement Act, 2015 which provides that: The Minister may, with or without condition, as the Minister may determine, grant a general or specific exemption by way of a directive for specific types of procurement or disposal from the application of certain provisions of this Act that are not practical or appropriate for the purpose for which such goods are let, hired or disposed of, including goods, works and services being procured,” Shiimi said.
Shiimi said they also rubber-stamped NamPower’s quest for exemption in line with the recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Namibian Economy (HLPNE) which was constituted by President, Dr. Hage G. Geingob in 2019 to sniff out bottlenecks that might be hampering economic growth.
“The HLPNE identified that the new Public Procurement Act created congestion in the public procurement system that has a negative impact on economic development and growth. To implement the above targeted exemption, the PPU undertook a project on Procurement Capacity Assessment for Public Entities as part of the larger Public Procurement Decongestion Project. The objective of this project is to enhance efficiency of the public procurement system through establishing an optimum balance of responsibilities and duties within the procurement system, based on merit and ability to efficiently undertake procurement,” he said.
Shiimi said they created a Procurement Capacity Assessment for Public entities Project, for assessing capacity and capability of the public entities to execute their procurement function.
“The assessment involves consideration of specific areas of public entity capacity and a set of scoring criteria to enable a consistent and objective grading of the public entities. The above includes human and institutional capacity of public entities as well as a compliance assessment of randomly selected procurements conducted by the public entity in the recent past.
“A validation exercise involving the public entity under assessment and the assessment team is conducted to authenticate the draft report, serving as an opportunity to agree on the allocated scores as influenced by the information and evidence availed by the public entity,” he said.
The Namibian minister also reiterated that the exemption is in no anyway meant to erode the role of the Central Procurement Board (CPBN) and its mandate as provided for by the Act. In fact, the CPBN shall continue to implement its mandate and remain an integral institution in promoting the objects of the Act.
“The reason for this temporal, yet conditional lifting is based on the intention to enhance efficiency and effectiveness within the procurement system. Nampower is a public entity with a key strategic mandate and responsibility in Namibia. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that expediting procurement by Nampower among other strategic public entities, will go a long way in terms of product and public service delivery to Namibians, and contribution to the infrastructural investment required for economic growth and development,” he said.
He added that Nampower will be subjected to direct supervision and monitoring of its procurement activities by the Ministry of Finance in line with Section 7 of the Act, for all procurement (which ordinarily would otherwise be executed by the CPBN) to ensure full compliance.
“Failure to comply by Nampower shall result in the withdrawal of the exemption. I thus wish to implore upon Nampower management and Board to exercise due prudence, ethical conduct and adherence to value for money principles in the execution of this measure at all times,” he said.