Mines Form Procurement Council

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK A special procurement body that would ensure that previously disadvantaged Namibians especially in the mining sector become part of the country’s economic main chain was launched last Friday. The Namibia Preferential Procurement Council (NPPC) at its launch pledged to assist Government in finalising the pending legislation on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). The establishment of NPPC means that the days when companies would employ previously disadvantaged Namibians merely for window-dressing are over. The NPPC has developed an empowerment scorecard on which participating member companies would be benchmarked. The scorecard contains elements such as skill development for the previously disadvantaged and in the case of those in management positions, they assume control (voting powers). “NPPC would not only look at the number of previously disadvantaged people in management positions, but whether such people have voting rights and shareholding in the companies,” noted Malveren Rittmann of the NPPC Secretariat. Currently, the NPPC has an active database of 286 Namibian suppliers and 58 South African accredited companies from which corporate members such as Namdeb, RÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ssing and De Beers Marine Namibia procure. “The NPPC will report to the Ministry of Mines and Energy on the progress made by participating members and also monthly reporting to corporate members determining their procurement baseline and also their procurement and empowerment targets,” Rittmann stated. NPPC is a brainchild of three big mines in the south, Namdeb, Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine and Skorpion Zinc. Delivering the keynote address Mines and Energy Minister Erkki Nghimtina expressed satisfaction with various private sector entities’ transformation efforts. “It is particularly more so when these efforts are implemented by multinationals operating in our economy, as it shows that the world is with us and supports us in this very important process of transformation,” he stated. “When looking at the BEE policies of some of these companies, it is quite evident that they fully embrace and appreciate Government’s spirit on broad-based BEE,” Nghimtina said. He said as an independent non-governmental body, the NPPC was providing the government with an opportunity to solicit further inputs on the drafting of BEE codes of good practice and be part of the consultative process with the finalisation of the country’s BEE legislation. “Today’s launch of the NPPC should therefore not be seen as an end in itself but the beginning of a very important process in broadening the base of ownership and active participation in companies that are forming the foundation of our economy.” Nghimtina was optimistic that the adoption of the BEE scorecard element would give further impetus to the process of transformation of the country’s economy and would also give assurance to all interested parties that proper guidelines would be followed for the implementation of BEE initiatives.