By Mbatjiua Ngavirue
Minister of Transport, Works and Communication, Joel Kaapanda, yesterday officially launched Telecom Namibia’s new Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Procurement Policy.
The new policy aims at creating guidelines for Telecom Namibia to procure goods and services necessary for its operations through giving preference to BEE companies.
Launching the new policy, Kaapanda described the BEE Procurement Policy as a commendable intervention by the company.
The new policy, he added, was a necessary measure to realize the dream of eradicating poverty, creating employment and eliminating disparities.
“This will transform the national economic landscape where more of our people – especially the poor and marginalized – become active participants in meaningful economic activity,” Kaapanda predicted.
Cabinet created an ad hoc committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, to oversee the design of the strategy for socio-economic transformation.
Growth and empowerment, he explained, were the twin processes at the core of government’s drive to design a Transformational Economic and Social Empowerment Framework for Namibia.
He felt that once enacted, it would constitute a significant piece of legislation that would seek to structurally transform the patterns of ownership, management, skills levels and enterprises in the economy.
“I am proud that Telecom Namibia is among the first public and private sector companies to pioneer BEE through the introduction of preferential procurement,” he said in praise of the company.
Telecom Managing Director, Frans Ndoroma, said the launch of the new policy affirmed Telecom Namibia’s commitment to fully support the participation of historically disadvantaged Namibians in the mainstream economy.
“BEE procurement forms the cornerstone of Telecom Namibia’s strategy as an area with the most impact.
“Our strategy is primarily based on leveraging the company’s buying power and profile to empower historically disadvantaged Namibians,” he stressed.
Telecom Namibia ordered goods valued at about N$66 million and N$94,4 million from BEE companies in the 2005 and 2006 financial years respectively as proof of its commitment to uplifting the Namibian people.
This constituted 28 percent and 34 percent respectively of all orders placed with suppliers and contractors, and 25 percent and 22 percent respectively in terms of overall value of orders placed.
Ndoroma said the company would take a number of aspects into consideration when evaluating BEE compliance by potential suppliers.
Telecom would look at the aspect of direct empowerment, which refers to the levels of BEE participation with regard to ownership, control and management.
The second aspect the company would look at is human resources development, where it will measure BEE participation at all levels of employment. Here the company would also look at skills development expenditure on historically disadvantaged Namibians, as a percentage of a supplier’s basic payroll.
Telecom refers to the third area it would evaluate as Indirect Empowerment, which measures the extent of BEE preference in supplier and service-provider profiles.
Another dimension would be enterprise development, where Telecom looks at the level of investment into BEE accredited businesses or joint ventures such as empowerment financing and investment joint ventures.
Finally, Telecom would look at industry specific measures such as various aspects of corporate social responsibility in terms of contributions towards education, community programmes, job-creation, training, health and sport.
“BEE is not a legal requirement in Namibia yet. We at Telecom, however, see the successful implementation of the policy as a moral and economic imperative.
“It will result in a stable and more sustainable business environment required to meaningfully grow our national economy,” Ndoroma concluded.