The Namibian Port Authority (Namport) says it has not yet received an official directive from the Ministry of Works and Transport that it submit a comprehensive five-year audit detailing the Namibianisation of its tenders.
On October 19, James Sankwasa the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport issued a crystal-clear directive in which he ordered Jerry Muadinohamba, the chairperson of the board of Namport, to submit a Namibianisation accountability report outlining Namport’s Namibianisation of its construction tenders.
Sentiment has been growing among locals bleating that they only receive piecemeal construction tenders through sub-contracting, while the lion’s share of massive construction tenders seem to be reserved for foreign-owned companies.
The Namibianisation accountability report requested by Sankwasa was to cover the period 2010 to the first half of 2015. Namport was requested to submit the report outlining the Namibianisation activities of the entity with the latest submission date being October 30 2015, but Namport claims it has not yet received such a request from the deputy minister of works and transport.
Muadinohamba said: “I have not seen the letter, he (Sankwasa) must have written to the CEO (Bisey Uirab).” But Victor Ashikoto the ICT executive tasked by Uirab to respond to New Era said Namport had not yet received the directive.
Sankwasa’s directive was also addressed to other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) falling under the ambit of the Ministry of Works and Transport, namely, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Roads Contractor Company (RCC), Roads Authority (RA), Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund and TransNamib.
The spokesperson of RA, Hileni Fillemon, has yet to respond to questions sent to her almost a week ago. RA is the custodian of the roads network on behalf of the government and is involved in routine maintenance and road repairs.
Ashikoto said that Namport could encounter some problems related to a “shortage of financial resources” and the shortage of “requisite skills in some of the required areas of expertise”.
“It is important to note that from a historical perspective, certain skills expecially in specialised industries such as ports remain a challenge to the indigenous Namibian population,” he said in reference to Bantu education that excluded blacks from taking subjects such as mathematics, which are required in civil engineering.
“Hence the only approach that can be adopted to ensure skills transfer and local capacity building is to encourage partnerships by way of joint ventures between foreign experts and locals,” Ashikoto said.
Regarding the benefits of joint ventures between locals and foreign-owned firms in construction, he responded: “They are definitely quite beneficial to Namibians as we have seen a lot of partnerships being formed of late where Namibians now play a meaningful role in the supply chain requirements of our ports.”
Namport, that over the past few years spent N$442 million, of which N$383 million or 87 percent was spent on Namibian suppliers, says it is working on a scheme to train locals “to enhance their chances of success of getting and successfully delivering on the tenders floated by Namport”.