By Yvonne Boois (Former Hardap Region Chief Regional Officer)
WINDHOEK-As from June 2017, while reading the daily newspapers I picked up the call for the submission of company profiles for the creation of a supplier eligibility list of companies for the provision of goods and services to the different Ministries; SOE’s; Regional Councils; Municipalities; Town Councils and Village Councils.
I would have think that a public announcement and sensitizing of the public on the new procurement bill would have been ideal before the whole process started. But perhaps it was done and I didn’t pick it up.
Providing services for a company dealing with company registrations and the empowerment of SME’s I was immediately drawn to the adverts. What became apparent is the different lengths of the time allocated for companies to submit profiles.
As a matter of fact, some adverts did not indicate any closing dates, yet when you called to enquire, one would be told that it already closed. Some adverts would run for two months and some would run for two weeks only.
Now having a vast country like Namibia, my fear is that so many prospective companies might lose out due to the limited time given for the submission of the profiles.
The other issue that I picked up was the documents to be submitted, in many instances the following were required: A company profile; a valid company registration certificate clearly indicating shareholders and principle business; an original valid good standing Tax certificate; an original valid good standing Social Security certificate; certified copy of original Affirmative Action Compliance certificate proof from Employment Equity; certified copy of SME certificate (if you are a SME) and a written undertaking as contemplated in section 138(2) of the Labour Act of 1998.
Now that I deemed fair enough when one wants to check the eligibility of a company. However, as if that list was not elaborative enough companies like NHE; Roads Authority; Namibia Training Authority (NTA); to mention but a few are asking for an additional supplier registration form.
These forms have to be picked up at the relevant offices or can be emailed. The additional supplier registration form could deter many SME’s to submit because as I said previously Namibia is vast, how do we expect an SME sitting as far as the most remote place in Namibia to first come and collect a form and then make another trip for the handing in of the profile.
The other challenge with the additional supplier registration form is that at some of the places mentioned above company owners were told, the forms are out of stock/print and that they should come back?
I personally witness one company owner requesting three copies, since his mates could not make to the offices of NHE. He was told that only one form can be handed out and they could go and make more copies if they want. That I saw as another deterring factor. With NIPAM, they even went a step further, you have to submit with your company profile a product list and prices. My question is how on earth will a contractor give prices for a job without knowing exactly what needs to be done? Or a company dealing in the provision of computers, giving prices for what type of computers?
I think it is a blessing that the period to remain on the database was set for one year only, meaning that all these ‘little glitches’ can be sorted out during the next call. I am taking my hat off for the Office of the Auditor General.
It seems that the Procurement Officer there knows exactly what is it all about. They only asked for the submission of the following with the profile: a valid company registration certificate; a valid Affirmative Action Compliance Certificate, a SME certificate (if you are a SME’s) a written undertaking as contemplated in section 138(2) of the Labour Act and a valid good standing for Tax and Social Security and this is the best part, ONLY if you are invited to bid.
Thus, as a matter of fact all the other entities just wasted the time of the companies by asking for good standing certificates, because by the time that the companies are called for bids, those good standings now handed in will no longer be valid! Well done, Office of the Auditor General for seeing the obvious.
The other issue with regards to the handing in of the profiles was, and I got so excited to see that, entities like the Prime Minister’s Office; Electoral Commission of Namibia; Ministry of Labour was having a list where companies submitting could record they names and details, but with many others one just had to hand in the profile, how on earth will the ‘checks and balances’ be carried out? Since this was the first round, my wish is that all the above mentioned can be addressed so that there can be uniformity to ease the process for us ALL! And NOW economic liberation of our people!