Namibia: Procurement Conference to Provide Bidders Insight

The Namibian Procurement Conference to be held in Windhoek later this month is expected to provide bidders with useful insights on how to make procurement more effective in both the public and private sector.

The conference will take place at the Safari Hotel on 27 and 28 May.

Julia Itana, one of the organisers, last week said the conference will not only focus on procurement professionals, but also on bidders, and will offer suggestions on bidding strategies and how to prepare a responsive, competitive bid.

"The conference will provide an avenue for the business community to engage with procurement officials on issues of mutual interest," she said.

Itana explained that procurement has over the decades shifted from having an administrative function to having a more strategic function within organisations.

"The efficiency of a procurement division assists the organisation in achieving its strategic objectives while achieving value for every dollar spent in a world of limited funds."

Itana said the conference, which is organised by IRC Consultancy, will provide an avenue for the business community to engage with procurement officials from both the private and public sectors.

"It is very important that bidders understand what they are bidding for before actually biding. Proper research is needed by the bidder," she said.

The conference will also equip bidders with knowledge of avenues available to them when they feel aggrieved in the bidding process or the implementation of contracts.

Commenting on common mistakes made by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the tendering process, Itana said SMEs have a tendency of submitting a bid for every bidding process they come across.

She said this at times ends up working against them as they may not have the required capacity or finances to carry the bid through.

"What most SMEs or upcoming businesses fail to get is that winning tenders that your company can't adequately perform can be just as costly as not winning the tender, as it has a long-term effect on the reputation of not only your company, but also on that of other SMEs or upcoming businesses," she said.

She said most bidders fail to understand the legislative frameworks that govern public and private procurement in Namibia, adding bidders often submit incomplete bidding forms.

"This is a sure way to get what may otherwise be a winning bid rejected," Itana said.

She said most bidders fail to visit the involved site to do a proper assessment of all variables to consider in their final bid.

In addition, bidders are reluctant to seek clarification from the procuring entity when preparing their bids to have a complete understanding of the information presented in the bidding document.

Another common error committed by bidders is not allocating sufficient time to themselves to prepare a good, competitive bid, she said.

"The aim of the conference is to equip bidders to better respond to invitations to bid and also to offer guidance on how to ensure that a bid is competitive and responsive," Itana said.

She said corruption in procurement can impede economic development, distort market mechanisms, and create inefficiencies reducing competitiveness, trade, and foreign direct investment.

"The conference will look into these key roles that could result in uplifting the integrity of any procurement process, as well as look into the dynamics of conflict of interest and how it may tie in to the perception of corruption," she said.

Itana said considering the spending power of the government in the local economy, the legislation that regulates public procurement in Namibia will be studied during the conference.

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