CBPN boots contractor for incompetence

Obrein Simasiku

The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CBPN) has booted a contractor who was appointed to construct a N$35 million state-of-the-art Vocational Training Centre in Nkurenkuru. The contract was terminated for incompetency and falling short of the agreed time frame, after having only completed around seven percent of the supposed project, as well as failure to formulate and implement a catch-up plan.

The tender was conducted by CBPN on behalf of the Namibia Vocational Training Authority (NTA) for the construction of the centre with an amount of N$35 561 067, of which at the time of the contract termination, the contractor Neu-Olulya Trading CC, was paid around 7.5 percent translating to roughly N$2 667 000 for paltry work done. The project was to run from September 2020 to September this year.

The shoddy work was detected between November 2020 and April 2021, when the CPBN through its monitoring and evaluation unit conducted its routine assessments and discovered that there was poor or slow performance in the implementation of the project. To address the poor performance by the contractor, the Project Manager furnished the Contractor with a number of notifications to raise concerns regarding the slow progress and poor performance on site, first notification was issued on 27 November 2020. 25 January, 5 February and 3 May 2021, respectively, but still no improvement was observed.

“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. 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 in order to start casting the concrete manholes. Another finding was, a lack of manpower on site as there were only 13 employees comprising of seven labourers, five plant operators and a site agent,” revealed CBPN spokesperson Johanna Kambala, when announcing the termination.

Other irregularities observed were that, the majority of the plant equipment were not functional, no security and safety officer on site.

In addition to the above findings, Kambala said, CPBN received documentary evidence from the client [NTA] indicating similar findings. Various project meetings were also held between the Project Manager and the Contractor to discuss the slow progress of the project.

After contract determination, Neu-Olulya Trading CC allegedly opted to go for adjudication process. The adjudicator ruled in favour of NTA on 17 March 2022, according to CBPN.

“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 youth 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 non-performance of a contractor who was entrusted to complete this very important project,” lamented Kambala.

The CPBN in remedying the situation has opted to conduct an emergency procurement with restriction to bidders who participated in the first bidding process, in order to get a contractor on site as soon as practically possible.
“The emergency procurement process is at an advanced stage. The determination of the contract should serve as a stern warning to bidders that CPBN will not tolerate non-performance on projects it has awarded,” she warned.

The Windhoek Observer did not independently manage to verify facts with Neu-Olulya trading cc representatives.

By Observer