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20 September 2012 | Adam Leach
The Namibian government has been praised for drafting a procurement bill that promotes competition, opens up access to public contracts and increases transparency.
A paper, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the country, said the draft bill, which also aims to boost jobs through local sourcing, was a “step forward”. The Public Procurement Bill, which came in for particular praise for strengthening administration and policy development around procurement in the country, is tabled to go before parliament before the end of the year.
Under reforms contained in the bill, the old-style tender board is to be scrapped and new bodies - the Public Procurement Policy Office, Central Procurement Board, a number of public procurement entities and an Independent Review Board - will be established. The most significant of the new bodies is the public procurement board, which will oversee the purchasing processes of public organisations. The bill stated that it would be made up of seven people; a chairman, deputy chairman, and five experienced professionals from the fields such as the legal, engineering, administrative, economic, financial and scientific sectors.
Graham Hopwood, IPPR executive director, said: “The IPPR welcomes the latest draft bill as a significant step forward in establishing integrity and accountability as core principles of a new public procurement system in Namibia.”
Among the other measures contained in the bill, those running tenders will be required provide a disclosure of interests relating to any contracts they are involved with, and officials will also be required to sign a code of conduct. The bill would also spell the end for the majority of tender exemptions, meaning that a formal tender process will govern a higher proportion of contracts.