SME Corner – Meet the Tenderers, Entrepreneurs in the Market [interview]

Following in his (late) father’s footsteps, Hango Paulus Shikongo carried the legacy on and established Munkundi Trading Enterprises cc, dealing mainly in construction, renovations, welding and painting services. New Era’s Tender Reporter Steven Klukowski spoke to the sole owner, Hango Paulus Shikongo on why he believes he is not just another of so many similar tenderers in this highly competitive industry.

How long has Munkundi Trading Enterprises cc been in existence and how big is the company’s workforce? If possible, please tell us about the gender composition in your workforce.

I am in business now for a year and employ 24 Namibians – 20 males and four females.

Tell us about the shareholding or ownership of the business?

I am the (100% shares) sole owner of this business.

What business is your company involved in?

Munkundi Trading Enterprises cc specialises in construction, renovations, welding and painting services.

Being a year old company, what challenges are you experiencing when applying for standard mandatory, good standing certificates at Inland Revenue, Social Security, Trade and Industry, etc?

I do not experience any problems to obtain these documents.

What is your view regarding the frequent reporting about ‘tenderpreneurship’ and the association of the term with corruption in the tender process and what can be done to address it?

Corruption in the tender process is a very bad thing since it denies small and medium enterprises (SMEs) opportunities to get tender awards. Through nepotism and favouritism tenders are mostly awarded to friends and family. The relevant role players in this industry should be more transparent when awarding tenders instead of first looking at who you are related to before making these decisions. If you meet the requirements you should get an equal opportunity with other tenderers.

Some Namibian companies are increasingly entering into joint ventures with foreign companies. How, in your view, can Namibians benefit out of these joint ventures in terms of employment opportunities and sharing of wealth?

Namibian companies should with time obtain the majority shareholding in these joint ventures. A continuous process of skills transfer and under-studying should take place in order to prepare Namibians to become the big guns in the construction industry in the near future.

What programmes are in place in terms of skills development and capacity building of employees at your company?

I am sending my unskilled employees on a rotational basis to vocational training centres in order to upgrade and capacitate them for the future.

What is your company’s view on giving back to the community?

I will definitely look into the issue of social obligation towards my fellow needy Namibians once in such a position.

What is the rate of success of your company’s output regarding tenders being awarded to you?

No (government) tenders have been awarded to my company yet, but I am positive that my turn will eventually come by. At this stage, I am mostly dealing with private companies and individuals.

NE: Do your employees belong to a pension fund and medical aid scheme, and if not in which way are they being assisted in this regard?

All employees are registered with the Social Security Commission and will at a later stage be registered for medical aid and pension benefits as the company grows.

How well equipped are your employees when it comes to occupational health and safety at the workplace?

As we are operating in the construction industry, we comply with the relevant occupational health and work safety standards. All employees are issued with helmets, hand gloves and boots.

Any innovative ideasown initiatives that you might have tested before that you would like to share with the readers?

Yes, I used to work with my (late) father and when I realised that there will always be a big demand for services in the construction industry, I grab this golden opportunity and this is where I am today.

Anything else you want to mention?

Yes, I want to encourage my fellow Namibians to start setting up their own businesses and assist government to address the unemployment situation in our country. I furthermore want to send out a message to commercial banks to come on board and join hands with us (SMEs) in this journey in order to reach a common goal at the end.

Source : New Era