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Another billion-dollar rail tender for a Chinese company

Willem Goeieman

The Chinese-owned company that won the N$730 million-dollar Swapo headquarters construction tender is in line to win another N$1,2 billion-tender for upgrading the Arandis to Kranzberg railway line.

Qingjian Group Co Ltd bid the rail upgrade tender as a joint venture with Unik Construction Engineering.

Sources told Eagle FM that Unik Construction is constructing the road behind the sand-dunes between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

Seven other companies also bid for the rail upgrades tender that is being financed by a N$10 billion loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Sources say that Unik Construction could subcontract about 70% of the job to a South African, Aveng, despite African Development Bank’s rules that only 25% may be subcontracted.

Works ministry executive director Willem Goeieman wrote to the deputy director, Josephine Ngure, at the African Development Bank on 27 October informing her about a no-objection to award the tender to Unik Construction.

However, Goeieman told Ngure that the works ministry had a reservation with Unik Construction’s low bid.

Goeieman also told Ngure that the bid evaluation process had highlighted some important deficiencies regarding the African Development Bank’s standard procurement documentation and bid-evaluation guidelines.

According to Goeieman, the African Development Bank’s rules that require no capping provisions for subcontracting is an oversight that does not conform to the bank’s guidelines nor that of Namibia.

He further said that the significant degree of subcontracting employed by some of the bidders raises questions on the pre-qualification hurdles that limited participation by Namibian contractors.

Furthermore, Goeieman told Ngure that the World Bank had barred some of the bidders and allowing their bids was against Namibia’s policies and practices.

He also cautioned that the bid documentation allowed bidders to submit proposals in contravention of the conditions of the contract.

This situation places undue pressure on the government to allow successful bidders to apply for exemptions from the Namibian Labour Legislation and Policies, Goeieman added.

Goeieman further said although cross debarment rules are respected, negative media reporting on the involvement of debarred firms places Namibia in a bad light.

Works deputy minister Sankwasa James Sankwasa said Sunday that he could not comment because he is in the village.

Goeieman said Monday that he could not comment and referred further questions to a deputy director in the ministry.

Wonder Guchu

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