Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala has called on entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the construction industry to consider entering into joint ventures, including with foreign nationals who have skills and machinery, so that developmental projects are completed on time in order to accelerate national development.
He made these remarks when he was paid a courtesy visit by the Roads Authority (RA) CEO Conrad Lutombi at his office last week. Lutombi was on a familiarisation tour to various projects the RA is undertaking in the region.
According to Endjala, most SMEs owned by Namibians find it difficult to complete government projects on time and in the process end up delaying the provision of crucial services. “It is always better to enter into partnerships with established companies, who have the capacity and skills when tendering for projects, as it will also give you a good standing on your portfolio that you have completed a project,” Endjala said.
Endjala raised concern over the non-completion of road construction projects in his region, such as the upgrading of the Epato-Oshikuku road to bitumen standard and the Omakange-Onamatanga road. The Epato-Oshikuku road, which was supposed to have been completed last year, was never completed, allegedly due to the contractor’s cash-flow problems.
Lutombi last week denied reports the contractor had abandoned the project. “I want to stress that the project was not abandoned, but the contractor simply had cash-flow problems,” Lutombi said, insisting that the project will be completed in June.
“Review some people given tenders. If they cannot do the job then give it to other people,” Endjala advised. The governor feels the supervision and monitoring of progress of various projects need to be strengthened so that completion of work by the due date is adhered to.
Regarding the Omakange-Onamatanga road, Lutombi stressed that they have given the contractor, another government-owned company, Roads Contractor Company (RCC), an ultimatum to complete the project by August this year, or have its contract terminated.
Lutombi in turn promised to make budgetary provision next year for the upgrading of the Omusati Tsandi-Onesi road and the Tsandi-Omugwulugwombashe road – projects that communities from the surrounding areas have for years been pleading for.
In concluding Endjala praised Roads Authority for overseeing the successful completion of the Ruacana-Omakange road and the Outapi-Omafo road, which were constructed to bitumen standard and inaugurated earlier this year.
“We would like the youth to get involved in these projects, even with de-bushing or cash-for-work so that they are empowered,” Endjala further said.
* Lot Shikongo is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) in the Omusati Region.