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Roads Authority sticks to Procurement Act … despite SMEs clamour for amendments

by Kelvin Chiringa

The Roads Authority (RA) has come out clear on its position with regards to clamours by the SMEs community to further amend the new Public Procurement Bill saying that it will only be guided by the Act in the bidding process.

 A majority of small scale businesses that have pushed for a soft landing as far as tender bidding is concerned expressed outrage at the directive that they have to submit bank-statements dating back to three years.

This has been watered down by the RA as a misrepresentation of facts and complete misunderstanding of what is expected of bidding companies.   

“There are no requirements for bank statements, however what is required is proof of financial resources and audited financial statements for a period of three years. This requirement is stated in the Instruction to bidders and the bidding forms within the standard bidding documents which were issued by the Procurement Policy Unit (PPU)," said RA in an e-mailed response through its manager of corporate communications Hileni Filemon.

 On the issue of the requisite bid-securities which have also become a subject of scorn on the part of many small scale businesses, RA clarified that the Public Procurement Act requires bidders to submit a bid security should a contract value exceed N$ 500 000.00. 

RA has further explained the securities saying, “According to Regulation 56 (1) A public entity may not require an entity referred to in section 2 (b), 71 (3) or categories of local suppliers referred to in section 72 (1) to provide a bid security if such award is made for the purposes of preferences under the Act. However, the PPU has advised the Roads Authority that in the absence of the National Preferential Policy, this clause cannot be applied.”  

Despite motions raised to have the securities relaxed to affordable levels, as some range from N$10 000 to N$30 000, RA has taken a stance to stick fingers in its ears. 

“The Roads Authority as an SOE has to comply with the provisions of the Act,” Filemon said.

Emotions are high within the camp of most start-ups who expressed to The Villager that the new Act contradicts government’s position that SMEs are engines of economic growth as it completely disregards them in the pursuit for tenders.  

Yet there is no turning back as government, tired of inefficiency and lack of commitment over its flagship projects is bent on gearing up professionalism. 

“The RA as an SOE has to comply with the Act, thus the PPU would be in a better position to respond to this question,” said Filemon.
 The Procurement Policy Unit stationed at the Ministry of Finance has not voiced its position on this matter and questions sent to it by The Villager through the reference of RA were not answered by the time of publication.