Govt ‘handpicks’ monitoring firm

20 August 2021 | Government

OGONE TLHAGE and MATHIAS HAUFIKU

WINDHOEK

Government has sought to justify why it handpicked two private firms - that formed a joint venture - to run the delivery unit which will oversee and monitor government projects under Harambee.

This is despite claims that the move creates additional layers and costs on the national kitty to pay consultants for work that normally falls under the jurisdiction of the National Planning Commission (NPC).

The monitoring pact was signed last week between the NPC and a joint venture consisting of Mondjila Project Advisory & Management and Lithon Project Consultants, represented by engineers Panashe Daringo and Scott Richards respectively.

NPC also went as far as obtaining treasury approval to sign the deal without putting it out on tender.

Some of their tasks will include developing a project management plan, communication strategy, HPP2 website and capacitating NPC staff.

According to the presidential economic adviser, James Mnyupe, the delivery unit will provide project management support to various OMAs.

Despite the agreement only being signed last week, Daringo and Richards were already working on the project, having worked as project leaders for HPP 2 projects that ran from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Mnyupe did not answer when asked what arrangement was in place that allowed the duo do work on HPP2 as project leaders way before the agreement was signed.

Written responses sent by the presidency to Namibian Sun this week indicate that the two were roped in after a 2020 cabinet retreat saw the need for the creation of delivery units to improve the implementation rate.

Mnyupe also indicated that the joint venture approached government in January 2021 with a formal proposal for the establishment of a delivery unit for HPP2.

“The Unit just like all across the globe involves the leveraging of expertise and skills in monitoring and evaluation and overall project delivery between the public and private sector. This necessitated the solicitation of private expertise to complement and strengthen the existing government capacity in monitoring, evaluation and project management,” said Mnyupe.

Fears and justification

Official sources pointed out that several cabinet ministers flagged issues of procurement compliance while others questioned the move to handpick the two firms as well as the granting of treasury approval which cleared the way for traditional procurement processes to be sidestepped.

Mnyupe leaped to the defence of the duo, saying: “They have extensive experience working with the ministry of finance to assist in a country wide PPP project identification exercise.”

Despite the presidency claiming that the agreement is between NPC and a joint venture consisting of Mondjila Project Advisory & Management and Lithon Project Consultants and not the individuals, only Daringo and Richard are cited as project leaders.

“Given the urgency of the economic recovery plan, an exemption from traditional procurement processes was applied for by the NPC as well as the requisite authorisations and accompanying treasury instructions,” he explained.

Government said it engaged the Project Management Institute of Namibia during the crafting of HPP2 “in a bid to appreciate how it could improve on timely project delivery and to respond to citizens’ calls for better delivery on various national plans”.

Mnyupe further sought to justify the appointment of the two because “at the time of inquiry (December 2020), only Daringo and Scott had the required certification”.

“Namibia only had two individuals who had both the Project Management Professional certification from PMI and the Certified Public-Private Partnership Professional designations, those individuals were Mr Daringo and Mr Richards,” said Mnyupe.

He added: “Given the local market conditions, skills available, JV’s relevant experience, existing related assignments with government and qualifications of key staff of the JV as described above, the government resolved to contract Mondjila Project Advisory & Management and Lithon Project Consultants to construct Namibia’s first Delivery Unit under HPPII.”

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