By Dr Moses Amweelo
As part of government policy of empowering the previously disadvantaged communities, the government together with entities like the Roads Authority, the Roads Contractor Company and TransNamib have implemented strategies to promote and facilitate the development of small-scale and medium-size contractors, through:
– Creating opportunities to tender for smaller projects;
– Allowing for a preferencing system to give advantage to the previously disadvantaged groups;
– Relaxing on some requirements to allow the small-scale and medium-size contractors to enter the market;
– Mentoring the contractors to ensure that direction is provided to ensure successful completion of contracts; and,
– The procedures the Roads Authority require, that road user charges that are used for the management of the road network are used efficiently and that the procurement of services is done in a transparent manner. This requires that tenders are opened in public and that no changes to tenders are permitted after the closing of tenders.
The Roads Authority applies a preference of 10 percent to tenders from the previously disadvantaged groups. If after award the tenderer fails to perform, then the tender is allocated to the second or third tenderer in line, or the tender is re-advertised. Another option that is commonly used is to negotiate with the Roads Contractor Company to take over from the non-performing contractor. The government expect the Roads Authority to keep the road network at acceptable levels of service through contracts awarded countrywide. The government, therefore, expects the small-scale and medium-size contractors to perform diligently when awarded contracts. Prospective tenderers are advised to:
– Be in a position to perform their tasks;
– Perform according to specifications;
– Complete the contracts within contract period and cost; and
– Understand the requirements of the contract
As far as contracts are concerned, small-scale to medium-size contractors are encouraged to form consortiums with the Roads Contractor Company or with other entities which have been in the road maintenance business for a long time.
This will ensure that equipment is available from the Roads Contractor Company or the other entities, quality is ensured using the Roads Contractor Company or the other company’s experience in the field and training and mentoring are provided.
I am convinced that the opportunities available to the small-scale to medium-size contractors are sufficient to develop a sound base of contractors to serve the road maintenance industry both at present and in future.
The government was previously responsible for the management of the overall network of national roads in Namibia.
This was a huge task and required an overall annual budget of approximately N$300 million, but now it is the custodian of the newly created and commercialized roads management entities, to which the executive functions of road maintenance and construction have now been delegated.
The entities operate according to principals of private law and private companies, even though they are government owned.
The responsibility of the development of the towns on the other hand lies under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development and the municipalities themselves. But we think that an agreement by the government can be reached for the maintenance and construction of roads between the emerging municipalities.
Decisions to invest in transport infrastructure projects require careful deliberation.
The government has to make sure that its resources are allocated in a way that maximizes net return to society.
That is why the government’s labour-based works policy is aimed at providing employment to the small-scale and medium-size contractors and marginalized sections of our population in a focused and targeted manner.
In conclusion, I would like to call upon all small-scale and medium-size contractors from the disadvantaged community to take advantage of the strategies put in place by government to ensure that communities are empowered and uplifted.