Incompetence of contractors delays education projects

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Windhoek

Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has revealed that the inability of contractors to complete capital projects within the stipulated timeframe due to capacity problems is hampering service delivery.
Currently there 76 education projects being implemented by the ministry, ranging from the construction of schools, classrooms, teachers’ houses and community libraries, among others.

However, many of these are at different stages of completion for various reasons, such as the inability of contractors to complete within the stipulated timeframe, while others are delayed due to the unavailability of land to implement registered and documented projects.

Apart from the renovation of basic education facility and construction of teachers’ houses, Hanse-Himarwa said the ministry also identified 12 capital projects that would be decentralised to the regional councils in the next financial year.

Hanse-Himarwa said these projects are either at the stage of feasibility studies, design or drafting of documentation, ortendering, or else are currently under construction or retention.

“The aim is to gradually decentralise all our capital projects to the regions, depending on the readiness level of the various regional councils,” she noted.

While the ministry faces several challenges from the standpoint of managing capital projects, she said around 10 projects are due to be completed in the current financial year.

These include the extension and renovation of the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment, the National Institute for Special Education, Oshikunde phase 1, Onawa phase 2, Anamulenge circuit office, Okahao Primary School, Ongwediva Junior Secondary School, as well as the Ohangwena, Oshana and Omaheke libraries.

To address the situation the ministry is in the process of introducing an internal procurement policy to serve as a guiding framework to manage its internal procurement activities and processes, she said. She added that the ministry is considering engaging the Ministry of Works and Transport to collectively address the challenges related to the implementation of major infrastructural projects. The ministry, she says, has further revised and reformed its internal procurement institutional setup to ensure improved transparency and accountability in all its procurement.

She said despite the increase in the budget allocation over the years, a large portion of the allocation has consistently gone towards the payment of operational expenses, mainly staff-related.

“The budget allocation towards capital expenditures only makes up 6 percent of the total budget allocation for the 2015/16 financial year, a trend that has been observed in past financial years… the proportion of the development budget allocation towards the total ministerial budget was only three percent, five percent and six percent for the 2012/13 and 2015/16 financial years, respectively, therefore making the ministry one of the least funded ministries in terms of capital projects,” she said.

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