The Namibian Competitions Commission (NaCC) will soon hold a conference on tender rigging to assess the implications the practice has on the economy and general transparency, the Chief Executive of the organisation Mihe Goamab II revealed last week.
The initiative comes barely a month after 18 major construction companies in the South Africa attested to rigging their public tender bids to disadvantage others.
The South African scenario resulted in the convicted companies being asked to pay fines amounting to close to N$1.2 billion.
According to Goamab II, the engagement will go a long way in sensitising both the commission and the business community on the possible flaws that can be exploited on public tenders although the country has never experienced such bad practices.
"Another workshop that we are planning is on bid rigging or tender rigging. There has been marked interest on this topic and how it relates to our competition Act. We aim to elucidate this topic and inform our stakeholders on the contraventions on tender rigging and how that relates to our Act with relevance to the recently discussed procurement legislation in Namibia," Goamab II says.
The commission also revealed that they are on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding with the Tender Board in a bit to create a working engagement and also sharing of information on how the public procurement system could be instituted without harming the others.
Goamab II emphasises that the engagement with the tender board is part of its stakeholder engagement which also aims to create awareness of the essence of fair competition in all vital sectors of the economy.
Although in the past, the country has not seen any institutions benefiting unfairly from the public procurement system.
There have been several tenders that have spilled into the courts either because the tenderers feel unfairly treated or the losers do not concur on the issuance of tenders.
Only last month the Supreme Court sent back the multi-billion dollar Neckartal tender which is expected to improve water distribution country wide back to the tender board for consideration.
In the past few years, there have also been a multi-million dollar tender of supplying food to the military that had to be cancelled at the last minute after some unfair influences from a few individuals were detected.
As part of its ongoing awareness drive, the commission also revealed that they will also hold a stakeholders meeting with the judicial workers in order to engage and empower them on competition issues for future use.
"The CEO paid a courtesy visit to the honourable chief justice and the judge president in a visit which was aimed at looking at possible capacity building aspects between the judiciary and the commission on competition related matters," he said.
Engagements of the NaCC with tender board experts also come a few weeks after the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Ericah Shafudha, told The Villager that her ministry will need the tender board to be aware of possible flaws that might be created by bid rigging.