Namibia: Farmers Want Local Procurement Prioritised

THE KAVANGO East Farmers Union (KEFU)'s chairperson, Adolf Muremi, says there are government institutions that have not committed themselves to the directive given by the Ministry of Finance to buy local products.

Muremi made the statement during the townhall meeting held by president Hage Geingob and senior government officials on Friday.

"We do not know whether we will receive clarity today, but when will government institutions commit themselves to this directive?" he asked.

The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) in the region, he stressed, is not willing to buy locally. When approached, the NDF says farmers' produce should be a certain grade.

The NDF also says they prefer the Top Score maize meal, instead of the locally-produced mahangu from the farmers.

Muremi continued that the Namibian Police are likewise another public entity unwilling to buy local products.

The police in the region claim that their menu comes from Windhoek, and they are thus not able to buy local.

"How will these institutions buy local produce if everything is centralised? Your excellency, we want your office to do something on this point in order for every government institution to respect the directive and buy local," he stated.

Farmers also want hostel tenders, when advertised, to be given to local suppliers.

The Ministry of Finance gave the procurement directive in May this year that public entities should source specific categories of goods and services, and works produced and manufactured locally, before procuring these elsewhere.

Minister of finance, Calle Schlettwein announced that the directive was a measure to enable local participation in the economy, and enhance domestic productive capacity within the framework of the Procurement Act (Act No 15 of 2015).

In his response, defence spokesperson lieutenant colonel Petrus Shilumbu said the troops in the various army bases come from different cultural backgrounds, which automatically means that not all eat mahangu.

He explained that the Ministry of Defence sources locally via August 26 Holdings, which buys from the Rundu fresh produce hub.

The regional police commander for Kavango East, Johanna Ngondo, said the police source locally through prisons and correctional services at Divundu, who supply inmates with maize meal and bread.

She added that the procurement directive from finance only came in May, and they are thus still working on effecting the directive.

The president and his ministers could not respond to questions and concerns raised by the different sectors in the region as the meeting ended late, but an indication was given that the concerns were recorded.

- Nampa

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