To date the Chinese are the biggest beneficiaries of public construction tenders in Namibia and proof is well recorded that the dominant Asians cream off billions in projects from this country.
In almost every construction project including roads public buildings, ports expansions, airports upgrades, you name them, there is a Chinese link.
It will be unfair or somewhat premature to say the Chinese benefit at the expense of local tenderpreneurs; rather Namibian public procurement system should start encouraging local tendeprenuers to be efficient in executing projects.
While the new tender legislation that will soon come into play has a protection of local industry clause which calls for joint ventures between locals and multinationals, more can still be done to improve locals’ participation.
Research anywhere in the world shows that the Chinese are as efficient as ants when they execute a project.
In fact, the Chinese bid for a tender, win it and are given a deadline to complete the tender.
Believe it or not, complete it they will.
Whatever difficulties they may face in executing whatever project they would have been given, the Chinese are never shy of deadlines.
Such are the lessons the local tendeprenuers need to take from the Chinese.
Local companies in Namibia are normally on the forefront of asking for more time to finish the projects they get.
What is now worrisome is that there might be reluctance from public procurement to give a big project to a local because in most cases, it would cost more to execute that project because of time.
Local tendeprenuers also need to respect the concept of ‘time is money’.
Only then, when locals can acquire the relevant skills needed to execute any project and also improve on their efficiency and proficiency in executing such jobs, Namibia will not necessarily need to seek out Asian help in public tenders.
While it will mean more money for locals to be efficient, it will also translate into empowerment of all local tendeprenuers who can execute their roles as government will not have any choice but to give all projects to locals.