9 January 2018

Namibia: Mutorwa Blames PS for Farmers' Woes

Windhoek — The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa has blamed the 'suffering' of the Northern Communal Farmers on the Ministry of Works and Transport permanent secretary, Willem Goeiemann.

Responding to the Namibian Sun article on Monday titled "NCA farmers in limbo," Mutorwa said before the signing of the agreement in August 2016, his ministry, contracted Burmeister & Partners Consulting Engineers to do the technical evaluation and inspection of both Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs. "Upon receipt of the Burmeister & Partners report, the Ministry of Works and Transport, through the office of the Permanent Secretary, was and remains ready to appoint a contractor to do the work required at the two abattoirs as the matter of extreme urgency," he explained in a media statement.

According to Mutorwa Burmeister & Partners completed their work on time as per schedule and admitted a report. He said the Ministry of Work and Transport (MWT) through Goeiemann intervened and advised that the contractor cannot and may not be appointed solely on the basis of the Burmeister & Partners report.

"They insisted that the MWT's engineers must do their own technical evaluation on the basis of which contractors can and may then be appointed to do the necessary repair work," he said. Mutorwa said the delaying tactics have been played and continue to be played since September 2016 despite the Ministry of Agriculture protesting and in the process thousands of Northern Communal Farmers continue to suffer. "Why can't the Ministry of Works speed up the work?" asked Mutorwa.

"We have budgeted for the needed repair work to be done, so it is not a question of money," he said. When contacted for comment yesterday, Goeiemann said his ministry submitted the bill of quantities to the Ministry of Agriculture last week Friday.

"We have done our work. The ball in now in the Ministry of Agriculture," said Goeiemann yesterday.

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