WINDHOEK – The Public Procurement Bill has been withdrawn from Parliament until further notice.
Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob told Parliament yesterday that he held discussions with the Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who tabled the bill and because of the many concerns raised, they agreed to withdraw it from the floor. Debate on the bill has been halted for two weeks, because of the absence of Kuugongelwa-Amadhila who is out of the country. The bill came under heavy criticism by parliamentarians across the political divide, who argued that there was not sufficient consultation on the bill prior to its tabling in Parliament. Many lawmakers also expressed concern over the many offices that are provided for in the bill, saying it would create too much bureaucracy in the implementation of public procurement. Geingob said more workshops with parliamentarians are needed and there would also be more consultations with the public.
According to the current draft, the bill aims to create a Central Procurement Board (CPB) that would replace the current Tender Board, which has been seen as problematic by many bidders for services and public projects. When she tabled the bill, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told parliament that it would make public procurement more transparent and accessible to the entire private sector; provide preference and equal access to small and medium size enterprises, as well as promote local sourcing and entrepreneurship development. Parliament has only one month left before it goes on recess for the year and it is highly likely that the bill will only be re-tabled next year.
By Tonateni Shidhudhu