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CPBN Angered Over Botched N$35 Million-Dollar Project

By: Kelvin Chiringa

The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) has said construction of Phase 1B of the Nkurenkuru Vocational Training Centre is now open for another round of bidding after the contractor failed to deliver on the N$35,561,067 project.

The bid is, however, restricted to companies that had competed for the tender in the first round.

The board accused Neu-Olulya Trading CC of sleeping on the job and failing to complete the project located in the Kavango West region and which is under the aegis of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).

For a period of six months (October 2020 – March 2021), the contractor is said to have only managed to construct platforms for the administration, sewing and culinary blocks.

However, the said platforms were not completely done as laboratory tests needed to be conducted before the final layers are constructed, said CPBN’s Johanna Kambala, manager of stakeholders relations.

“There were barely any materials on site, and the workers on site had to wait for nearly three months to get materials such as sand, cement, and stones in order to start casting the concrete manholes. There was a lack of manpower on-site as there were only 13 employees comprising of seven labourers, 5 (five) plant operators and one site agent. The majority of the plant equipment was not functional. 1.5 There was no Security and Safety Officer on-site, despite these items being part of the Preliminaries & Generals,” she said.

Kambala also said the contractor was given various opportunities to submit catch-up plans on how they would address the slow progress but still failed to implement their catch-up plans.

“The Lack of performance by the Contractor was further evident on the project financial expenditure that was at 7.5 per cent on 10 August 2021 whereas contract period/time had lapsed with 47.5 per cent by then,” she added.

It has also come out that after contract determination, Neu-Olulya Trading CC opted to go for the adjudication process.

However, the CPBN said the adjudicator ruled in favour of the Employer (Namibia Training Authority) on 17 March 2022.

As a result, construction on site has been halted since 30 September 2021.

“The Nkurenkuru VTC forms part of the Namibian government’s effort to decentralize its services by taking much-needed services to the people, and many Namibian youths are expected to benefit from this VTC.”

“However, it is disheartening to note that a project of such magnitude has to be brought to a standstill because of non-performance of a contractor who was entrusted to complete this very important project.”

“The CPBN, in remedying the situation, has opted to conduct an emergency procurement with restrictions to bidders who participated in the first bidding process in order to get a contractor on-site as soon as practically possible. The emergency procurement process is at an advanced stage,” Kambala said.

CPBN said the determination of the contract should serve as a stern warning to bidders that CPBN will not tolerate non-performance on projects it has awarded.

Julia Heita

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