The Roads Authority (RA) yesterday signed three contracts worth about N$2.6 billion for the rehabilitation and upgrading of three road projects.
“The Roads Authority has been talking about some of the major projects in the history of the country and today these projects will become reality,” said RA’s chief executive officer, Conrad Lutombi, during the signing ceremony to initiate the projects.
Lutombi explained that N$1.08 billion, co-funded by the Road Fund Administration (RFA), has been allocated for a 27.6km stretch of road between Windhoek and Okahandja, spanning from the Dobra River to just south of the Osona Military Base. This contract has been awarded to a joint venture between Italian company CMC and Otesa, a Namibian company. CMC holds 70 percent in the joint venture with Otesa controlling the remaining 30 percent.
According to Lutombi about 300 jobs will be created during the upgrading of this stretch of road that will commence in January 2016 and is expected to be completed within 36 months.
Lutombi noted that CMC brings to the table a wealth of experience and he remarked that he is comfortable that the joint venture will be able to deliver on its promise.
“With Otesa owning 30 percent of the shares of the joint venture and the SMEs carrying out 15 percent of the works, a total of 45 percent of the proceeds from this project will remain in the country and that is good for the economy. In terms of skills transfer, 50 percent of the key staff on this project are Namibians. Some will be understudies to CMC personnel and will get much needed training from them. A number of students have also been identified to be trained during the construction of this section,” said Lutombi.
Furthermore, N$799 million, which is fully-funded by government, has been allocated for the upgrading of a 8.4km stretch of road between Windhoek and Hosea Kutako International Airport. This road will be upgraded to a freeway and will include the upgrading of 10 bridges as well as three diamond interchanges.
This massive project has been awarded to China Railway Seventh Group, which holds 80 percent, and a Namibian company called Onamagongwa Trading Enterprises, which holds 20 percent. This project is also expected to create about 300 jobs and five small and medium enterprises have been identified to complete at least 7.5 percent of the work. Similarly to the Windhoek to Okahandja road, this project is also scheduled to commence in January and should be completed within 36 months.
In addition, RA awarded a N$755 million road project, which is also fully-funded by government, for the upgrading of the Swakopmund to Henties Bay to Uis to Kamanjab road, to the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) as part of the RCC’s turnaround strategy. However, only section A of this project, from Swakopmund to Henties Bay, will commence in January and is scheduled to be completed within 26 months. This project is expected to create about 350 jobs.
Lutombi noted that to encourage Namibian participation, the tender regulations provided bonus points to Namibian road contractors and strongly considered skills transfer and technical capacity of tenderers. “That is why the focus was only on well-established road contractors,” said Lutombi. He added that the RA excluded contractors who tendered 15 percent above or 15 percent below the engineer’s recommendation for the project.
“Is it very important to emphasise here that the Roads Authority policy and procedures are in line with the best practices in tender processes. All public construction works are procured by means of a public tender bidding process or as determined in the RA Tender and Procurement Policy. Local and foreign owned entities and joint ventures are publicly invited to submit their tender proposals,” Lutombi added.