Shangula calls out procurement board for inefficiency

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has called out the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) for inefficiency, highlighting that the board has not addressed some tenders dating as far back as 2017, a situation that leaves the public health sector in a predicament.

The Minister described the tender process at the board as "lengthy, cumbersome, discouraging and demoralising," further asserting that it is considered as one of the most contributing factors to the high staff turnover, especially at the hospital management levels, because they operate without the needed materials and equipment.

"It is with great concern that we have experienced delays in the processing and finalisation of tenders submitted to the CPBN by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. This has had a negative impact on service delivery as a result of stock-out of medicines and clinical supplies in some health facilities across the country. 

“Experience has taught us that we do much better as a Ministry, in terms of availability of medicines and clinical supplies when there are long-term contracts in place," Shangula said while addressing parliament this week.

"Despite real or perceived shortcomings of the [then] Tender Board of Namibia, it was efficient in that it used to sit on a weekly basis. Equally, the procurement for health-related commodities may be exempt," he said.

CBPN replaced the Tender Board which was repealed through the formation of the Public Procurement Act of 2015.

Shangula's remarks come after CBPN recently cancelled multi-million tenders of clinical supplies, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and the implementation of capital projects, which were deemed a priority after it emerged that there were some irregularities in the tendering processes.

"The CPBN should consult extensively with Public Entity before cancelling any procurement process as was in the case of supply of Clinical items," he remarked.

Shangula is further of the view that CBPN should in future separate tenders so that when untoward issues are detected one cannot hinder the entire process, as opposed to collating which affects it as a whole.

In such situations, the veteran doctor says due to the Public Procurement Act of 2015's requirement which has a threshold of N$25 million, the Ministry is unable to engage in any procurement because it's not in line with the law unless it's below.

"The Ministry has been compelled to engage in costly emergency procurement activities, where the costs are astronomical, degrading our efforts to secure value for money. With respect to the provision of meals in health facilities, the tenders have been extended countless times, to the detriment of competitiveness and value for money," he stressed.


In this context, it is vital that the CPBN is capacitated to be able, in a more rapid and robust fashion, to process, adjudicate and award long-term tenders for entities such as the Ministry of Health and Social Services, he suggested.

"When long-term contracts of at least two to three years are in place, the Ministry is able to exercise proper and effective contract management, holding suppliers and service providers to account. The Ministry is able to benefit from reliability and predictability in terms of prices offered. 

“Similarly, the Ministry is able to better plan for the scheduled delivery of items, by calling in orders, when thresholds for replenishment are reached," he charged.

On a lighter note, Shangula said the Ministry is ready to work together with the Central Procurement Board of Namibia to expedite the provision of medicines and clinical supplies to the Ministry.

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Last modified on Friday, 21 April 2023 11:47

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