Locals companies benefit from MCA's N$600m
Two years since implementation, the US’ five year, bilateral agreement with Namibia, the Millenium Challenge Account has already seen 45% of its total Compact Value in Namibia committed. MCA-Namibia committed itself to a total amount of U$304.5m (N$2.1b), meant to assist Namibia in the selected areas of education, tourism and agriculture.MCA-Namibia Public Outreach Manager Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias confirmed last week that to date, U$136m (N$952m), or 45% of the total amount has thus far gone to such activities as research, infrastructure development, technical assistance and training in the selected sectors. The Education Project, meant to complement the Ministry of Education in bolstering the quality of general education, has a total of U$145m assigned to it. Hamukuaja-Thobias says thus far, 12 contracts have been entered into under the Education Project, seven to Namibian companies.Namibian organisations that benefited include Nexus Building Contractors; Stefanutti Contractors; Omugongo Joint Venture; SEArch Team; Focus Consulting and the University of Namibia.The value of these Namibian contracts, she said, is approximately N$600m.According to Andre Hauptfleisch of Nexus Building Constructors, the company has been working on three projects for MCA-Namibia since November representing approximately N$200m worth of work on 30 schools and two resource centres at Oshakati and Nelao Nafidi. Other projects under education are a N$14.4m contract with Unam for a grant programme set to become active in October and hoped to be self-reliant by the time MCA funds dry up in 2015.“The Unit is on schedule to become self-reliant once the MCA funding dries up. In the first place, a sustainability Memorandum of Agreement has been signed between the University and the Ministry of Education. The CPD Unit has already started identifying revenue generating activities which will be consolidated by a technical that will be hired to advice further on revenue generation,” Unam spokesperson Edwin Tjiramba said when asked about the Unit’s progress.Recruitment of staff has also been completed, he said, and these are due to report for duty by October.The MCA is also assisting the Namibia Training Authority in setting up a levy for industry to support vocational training.The National Training Fund (NTF) provided for under the Vocational Education and Training Act of 2008 is envisioned to contribute skills formation in vocational training in line with the country’s labour market. At present, NTA spokesperson Wendy Adams-Arendorf said, the proposal is that parastatals be exempt from paying this levy if they’re subsidised in excess of 80% of their operational costs per year. “It has been proposed that only central government and its ministries are exempt from this levy. With regards to parastatals though, this has not yet been finalised and is currently under discussion,” she says.The fund is expected to come into effect around May 2012 in pilot phase, and full operation by September of that year. On an international level, the MCA last year entered into a three year, U$2m contract with German international consultancy group, GOPA Worldwide, to see to the creation of an NTF council who are to manage, design and develop an operational framework for the levy.