Procurement Board requires more professionals

An influx of Individual Procurement Plans (IPPs), has necessitated the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) to revisit its recruitment strategy and accelerate the recruitment process of technical staff, as well as experts required to evaluate procurement bids. This is according to chairman of the board, Patrick Swartz who this week noted that while the staff compliment of the organisation has been sufficient for the workload thus far; the increased workload dictates that the board appoints more manpower.

The specific areas in which the organisation will require manpower are in the core functional areas of the CPBN, being procurement officials and professionals in certain technical fields. The first round of adverts closed on June 8, 2018, and more will follow soon. Further to the above, the organisation requires a pool of experts to evaluate the bids conducted on behalf of the public entities, said Swartz.

Section 26(8) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) states that: For the sake of an independent evaluation process and avoidance of conflict of interest, a member of the Board may not form part of a bid evaluation committee of the Board.

So far, the Procurement Board's pool of experts list comprises of 67 professionals, but Swartz noted that given the increase in the IPPs and the requirements listed in Regulation 13 of the PPA, that such a committee must have between 3 and 7 evaluators, the organisation issued 'An Expression of Interest' for interested professionals to apply. Through this exercise, the Board received another 80 applications.

However, to strengthen and enlarge this capacity of the CPBN to evaluate bids across the spectrum of procurement required, we require a pool of approximately 1000 professionals, from where the Board could elect the desired mixture of skills and appoint them as an Ad Hoc Bid Evaluation Committee in terms of the Act, to evaluate a procurement bid and submit a bid evaluation report to the Board for consideration and approval. We, therefore, appeal to the professionals in the country, from Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Architects, Pharmacists, Accountants, Lawyers, IT professionals, Geologists, Aviation experts, to mention a few, to download the registration form from the CPBNs website, complete it and forward it to our offices, Swartz appealed.

CPBN, which was established 15 months ago, has thus far approved 17 IPPs to the value of N$2,5 billion and awarded a total of 28 extensions, variation orders, price increases and new procurement awards valued at an estimated N$1,46 billion at 29 meetings, it has held since its establishment.

The principle objectives of the CPBN are to conduct the bidding process on behalf of public entities for procurement that exceeds thresholds prescribed in the regulation, and to enter into procurement contracts as well as to direct and supervise relevant accounting officers in managing the implementation of procurement contracts awarded by the Board. The CPBN does not grant exemptions to any Public Entity, as it is not mandated to do so.

Of the total value the board has approved thus far, 18 projects were for extensions of contracts valued at close to N$850 million, three were variations orders amounting to just over N$21 million, two matters were approved for price increases for slightly over N$15 million, while five procurement awards were made amounting to just above N$572 million.

Swartz this week noted that one of the five awards concluded by the Board, valued at over N$111 million, was challenged by a bidder. The Review Panel set the decision of the Board aside, where-after the Board challenged the decision in the High Court. We await the outcome of this court ruling during the next financial year, said Swartz during the relatively new board's first ever media briefing in the capital this week.

During the briefing, Swartz explained that the CPBN is a procuring agent and it is therefore of utmost importance for it to collaborate with public entities to execute the procurements.

The Public Entity prepares the Individual Procurement Plan according to their own strategic plans and budget, after which they prepare the bidding documents with the specifications and the evaluation criteria. The role of the Board is to ensure that the specifications and the evaluation criteria encourages fair competition and compliance to the Act, said Swartz.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia