Textile Dismisses Kamwi’s Claim

The Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA) says it has the capacity to produce uniforms for government ministries but is concerned with the “not so transparent enough” tender process.

NMA’s comments come a week after the Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi told parliament that the ministry intended buying nurses and doctors’ uniforms from China, a decision which was widely condemned, resulting in the minister making a U-turn on the plan.

Kamwi said they had made the decision to buy the uniforms from China because local companies have no capacity to supply. He also said the U-turn would mean that nurses and doctors will have to wait longer for the uniforms.

The NMA chairperson Brian Black disputed Kamwi’s claims and expressed concern over the ministry’s

tender process which he described as “not transparent enough”.

Black told The Namibian yesterday that his association had asked for a meeting with Kamwi to discuss the tender process for local companies since they understand the ministry is currently in a desperate need for these uniforms. He could not, however, give more information on the scheduled meeting.

Black also said after engaging their members, they could not come to a conclusion why the minister believes local companies are not capable of producing uniforms.

“We have checked around on all our members and we could not get this type of information on the ground that local companies are not capable of doing the job,” he said, adding that they had requested the ministry to engage all stakeholders before making a decision.

“In our opinion the local textile manufacturing sector deserves all the support it can get from Namibian stakeholders, especially government, when it comes to the manufacturing of a rather simple design such as a uniform,” he said.

He said if government does not consult NMA and the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) for help, “how do you expect people to believe that there is no capacity in the country?”

“Once the ministry has done its homework (as it so needs to do), and has confirmed that indeed there is no local company in Namibia that can deliver, then they can go out,” Black said.

In a press statement dated 4 April 2014, Black said his association is not “convinced by the excuse of the permanent secretary that the Namibian Textile Sector with approximately 90 registered active ventures does not have the required capacity to manufacture these uniforms”.

“To the contrary, it is our g view that the local textile sector is one of the few best positioned sectors with the capacity of creating more jobs for our unemployed youth in the Namibian manufacturing industry,” Black said.

Black applauded the health ministry’s “swift response to our call to have the (China) order cancelled … in line with the Namibian team spirit which the NMA believes will take our nation’s manufacturing activities to even greater heights”.

“It is our understanding that the Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently in desperate need of these uniforms and in this regard, NMA wishes to reconfirm its absolute commitment and readiness to work hand in hand with MoHSS in order to ensure that successful Namibian companies deliver on both quality and in time,” he pointed out in the statement.

Kamwi yesterday said he was done with the issue saying “take it up with the PS (Andrew Ndishishi)” who could not give a response after saying he was in a meeting.

Health spokesperson Ester Paulus said she does not know anything about the meeting with NMA.

The Namibian spoke to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to find out whether they also have problems acquiring uniforms for their officials – wardens, cleaners and rangers.

The ministry spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, said they have four local companies – CWN Investment, Patema Safety Investments, John amp Son Imports and Exports, and Beckor Trading – which supply uniforms.

Muyunda said, on average, they issue two pairs of uniforms annually depending on the availability of funds. Their last procurement was made this year.

“We try our level best to support the local SMEs so that they can be empowered to positively contribute to the economic growth of the country and provide employment to Namibians through such tenders,” Muyunda said.

John amp Son Imports and Exports and Patema Safety Investments confirmed that they supply uniforms to the environment ministry, while the other companies could not be reached for comment.

However, Patema Safety Investment Trading managing director Naomi Basson said they are a retailer shop, and that she would love to make the uniforms herself but has no means to produce them.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has also confirmed the registration of these companies.

Source : The Namibian