THE Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) has issued a stern warning to businesses, stating it will not tolerate non-performance on projects as appropriate measures will be taken against chance takers.
This is after the board took punitive measures against local company Neu-Olulya Trading CC which will have to pay for damages after it failed to complete the construction of the Nkurenkuru Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in the Kavango West Region.
Johanna Kambala, manager of stakeholder relations, shared that the procurement of the project “Construction of Nkurenkuru Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Kavango West Region, Phase 1b” was conducted by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (“CPBN”) on behalf of Namibia Training Authority (“NTA”) with a contract value of N$35,561,067.67.
This two-year project was awarded to Neu-Olulya Trading CC to construct the Vocational Training Centre between September 2020 and September 2022.
In terms of Section 8 (c) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), the CPBN is mandated to direct and supervise accounting officers in managing the implementation of procurement contracts awarded by the Board. This responsibility is carried out by the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the CPBN.
The first Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) visit to the project was conducted on 10 November 2020 and was followed by another visit in April 2021. It was during these M&E site visits that the CPBN discovered that there was a poor or slow performance in the implementation of the project by the contractor, Kambala stated.
She further stated that key observations were that for a period of six months (October 2020 – March 2021), the contractor only managed to construct platforms for the administration, sewing and culinary blocks. However, the said platforms were not completely done as laboratory tests needed to be conducted before the final layers are constructed.
In addition to this, the procurement board witnessed that there were barely any materials on site, and the workers on site had to wait for nearly three months to get materials such as sand, cement, and stones to start casting the concrete manholes.
Kambala further shared that there was a lack of manpower on site as there were only 13 employees, comprising seven labourers, five plant operators and one site agent.
“As a result of the non-performance on the construction of the Vocational Training Centre, the Board, at its meeting of 30 September 2021 resolved to determine the contract with Neu-Olulya Trading CC in terms of clause 57 of the General Conditions of Contract (GCC). The Contractor has delayed the completion of the Works by the number of days for which the maximum number of liquidated damages can be paid, as defined in the SCC,” Kambala said.
She added that after contract determination, Neu-Olulya Trading CC opted to go for the adjudication process. The adjudicator ruled in favour of the Employer (Namibia Training Authority) on 17 March 2022. As a result, construction on site has been halted since 30 September 2021.
“The Nkurenkuru VTC forms part of the Namibian government’s effort to decentralize its services by taking much-needed services to the people, and many Namibian youths are expected to benefit from this VTC. However, it is disheartening to note that a project of such magnitude has to be brought to a standstill because of the non-performance of a contractor who was entrusted to complete this very important project,” Kambala said.
She added that the CPBN in remedying the situation has opted to conduct an emergency procurement with restrictions on bidders who participated in the first bidding process to get a contractor on site as soon as practically possible. The emergency procurement process is at an advanced stage.