Bulk rail tenders cancelled

01 December 2017 | Infrastructure

The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann, says the cancellation of all four tenders for the purchase and delivery of bulk rails was because of the cash squeeze the government is facing. The cancelled tenders are for the purchase and delivery of 20 000 tonnes each of rails for the upgrade of the Kranzberg to Otjiwarongo, Otjiwarongo to Tsumeb, and Walvis Bay to Kranzberg railway lines. The other cancelled tender is for the first phase of the line construction of a sand shelter tunnel of the railway line between Aus and Lüderitz, which includes the railway siding at Haalenberg. The ministry did not indicate how many bids it had received for the multibillion-dollar tenders. Goeiemann, who is currently attending a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation in London, this week said the tenders would be advertised again next year. This comes after the N$10 billion loan from the African Development Bank of which N$6 billion is earmarked to support the government's budget deficit and N$4 billion for capital projects in the rail, road, agriculture and educational sectors. The bulk rail tenders were first advertised about 18 months ago and were estimated at a combined amount of N$1.4 billion. “We did not have the money to execute the projects,” Goeiemann said. “We will redo it under the new Procurement Act next year.” At the time it was reported that 75 tender applicants, primarily from Chinese companies in joint venture arrangements with Namibian partners, had been received. Other foreign tender applicants were from Zimbabwe and Zambia. At that time, the nature of tenders was questioned by industry players who wondered why the ministry would want to purchase such large quantities of rail at one time for the 600-kilometre railway line to be upgraded. The industry players had estimated that it would have taken ten years to complete the upgrades.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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