Public procurement lacks transparency

25 April 2019 | Government

An independent policy watchdog in Namibia continues to shine a spotlight on the serious troubles crippling Namibia's public procurement system and the body in charge, which has been riddled with lack of transparency and accountability despite the new regime's stated goals of enhancing those qualities.

The latest issue of the Procurement Tracker, an quarterly initiative launched in 2018 by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) to monitor and track developments and issues within the Namibian public procurement sphere, states that successive reviews of the procurement systems in place and the body managing the processes “suggest a system in trouble and even in turmoil.”

The April Procurement Tracker notes that even though the 2015 public procurement law was meant to usher in a new era of enhanced transparency and accountability around public resources, “it's clear that the levels of transparency witnessed fall far short of the stated intentions of the Public Procurement Act.”

“At the heart of the systemic troubles is the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN), which has not publicly issued any sort of audit or accountability report to date, but which has attracted all the wrong headlines over the last 12 months, painting a picture of an organisation afflicted by severe organisational and management dysfunctions,” IPPR research associate Frederico Links writes in the report.



The Tracker states that an overview of numerous reports on the CPBN have “exposed an agency characterised by non-compliance with rules, lack of internal accountability, a governance culture of secrecy, persistent executive level infighting and institutional paralysis, coupled with perennial understaffing and lack of expertise.”



Referring to finance minister Calle Schlettwein's budget statement in March, Links says the minister “effectively, but understatedly, admitted that the new public procurement system was not functioning as it should.”



Schlettwein noted that “implementation and capacity challenges arose” during the implementation of the procurement system and assured the country that measures would be implemented to improve and enhance the functioning of the system.



The IPPR's Tracker warns that with the Namibian government's announcement of an increase in development spending for the 2019/20 financial year, “dealing with the systemic weaknesses of the public procurement system should now become an overriding priority.”



Links said despite Schlettwein's statement that “the public procurement law and institutional arrangements are in place, creating enhanced objectivity and transparency in the procurement process”, in fact the public procurement system has been shown to “substantially fail the transparency test.”







One by one



The first issue of the Procurement Tracker, published in July 2018, dealt with the implementation of the act.



It stressed the lack of transparency within the public procurement realm “even as the new procurement dispensation was meant to inject greater transparency into public procurement practices.”



The issue noted that “with exemptions and other forms of discretionary decision-making reportedly having become the norm in public procurement since 1 April 2017 and aside from public entities publishing tender notifications in some newspapers, by some estimations, the transparency situation is even worse now than what it was under the old Tender Board of Namibia system.”







No compliance



The launch issue also noted that while the procurement law calls for the implementation of various transparency inducing mechanisms, by July 2018 “such mechanisms are hardly visible across the public sector, such as a reasonably detailed accounting of procurement practices on public entities' websites, through listings and summary reports.”



In July 2018, even the CPBN did not maintain a functional website.



The latest edition notes that to date the practice “hardly seems to have improved”, and while many public entities advertise their public procurement calls in national newspaper, they mostly still do not make such calls available on their websites, in line with legislative requirements.



According to the IPPR's research, the agriculture ministry issued 38 procurement calls between April 2018 and March 2019, which while advertised in newspapers, have not been listed on the ministry's website.



There is still almost no information available publicly on direct procurement activities of state bodies and exempted procurement initiatives, which the IPPR research has shown to “still account for a large proportion of state sector purchasing of goods and services.”



Further, as of March this year, procurement “corruption and waste, and the use of exemptions, continue to undermine government claims of systematic improvements,” the procurement tracker states.

JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Stop blaming Aawambo - Kapofi

15 hours ago | Government

Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi has cautioned against tribalism and pointed out that there is a growing perception that only the Aawambo are beneficiaries of...

Geingob preaches caution

1 day - 16 July 2019 | Government

Geingob cautioned that the emotive issue of ancestral land claims, if used for political gain, can stir up civil war.“This issue of land, used by...

No one is marginalised - Shanghala

5 days ago - 12 July 2019 | Government

Justice minister Sacky Shanghala says there is no marginalisation in Namibia.He argued in the National Assembly this week that government has built roads all over...

Shanghala urges restraint

5 days ago - 12 July 2019 | Government

Justice minister Sacky Shanghala this week spoke out against hate speech, xenophobia and irresponsible social media postings, as well as personal attacks on national leaders....

Katrina quits

1 week ago - 10 July 2019 | Government

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa quit President Hage Geingob's cabinet yesterday, a day after she was found guilty of corruption by the Windhoek High Court.The former...

Grootfontein infighting escalates

1 week ago - 09 July 2019 | Government

The infighting between acting Grootfontein CEO Arnold Ameb and the municipality's finance executive Ileni Hainghumbi has reached new depths.Hainghumbi has accused his boss of alleged...

Geingob is coming to your town

1 week ago - 05 July 2019 | Government

President Hage Geingob will embark upon a range of regional assessment missions to review drought relief progress and identify bottlenecks, in order to scale up...

Rehoboth warns defaulters

1 week ago - 05 July 2019 | Government

The Rehoboth Town Council has called on its residents with outstanding water and electricity bills to pay for such services or face disconnection and suspension...

No law barring Erindi sale

1 week ago - 04 July 2019 | Government

ELLANIE SMIT The presidency has reiterated there is no law currently in place that can stop the sale of the 71 000-hectare Erindi Private Game...

Spotlight on African migration

2 weeks ago - 02 July 2019 | Government

Namibian head of state and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson, Hage Geingob, says African counties need to create conditions that will keep their people...

Latest News

Keeping up with the neighbours

15 hours ago | Economics

LuandaYou would need around US$2 535.97 in Windhoek to maintain the same standard of living that you can have with US$7 600 in Luanda, assuming...

88 schoolgirls fall pregnant in...

15 hours ago | Education

Eighty-eight learners, including two girls in Grade 7, fell pregnant in the Oshana Region during the first term of 2019. Oshana governor Elia Irimari...

Stop blaming Aawambo - Kapofi

15 hours ago | Government

Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi has cautioned against tribalism and pointed out that there is a growing perception that only the Aawambo are beneficiaries of...

Mom begs for mercy

15 hours ago | Justice

A mother of three minor children is asking the High Court to reduce her four-year prison sentence, or fine her instead, after she pleaded guilty...

Relevant IFRS themes: Anytime, anywhere

15 hours ago | Business

A good understanding of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is crucial to the financial reporting process of IFRS reporters. Banks and Insurers in particular have...

Standard Bank faces strike vote

15 hours ago | Labour

ELVIRA HATTINGH Members of the Bank Workers Union of Namibia (Bawon) are to vote on whether to strike...

Let us tread carefully

15 hours ago | Opinion

When expectations are not met, citizens wronged in this regard should have channels, means and ways to air their grievances and have them addressed effectively.In...

Big banks target South Africa's...

15 hours ago | Business

Emma Rumney - South Africa's biggest banks are betting cut-price accounts, big mortgages and offers on everything from Adidas backpacks to Xboxes will help them...

Zim inflation almost doubles, stirring...

15 hours ago | Economics

MacDonald Dzirutwe and Karin Strohecker - Prices of cooking oil and other basics soared in Zimbabwe as inflation nearly doubled in June, piling pressure on...

Load More