Tender Board tightens rules to protect jobsBy: TILENI MONGUDHI
COMPANIES making use of foreign unskilled and semi-skilled workers will no longer qualify for Government tenders.
The Tender Board announced in the Government daily New Era yesterday that “henceforth 100 per cent of all unskilled and semi-skilled labour must be sourced, without exception, from within Namibia”.
The Secretary to the Tender Board, Welma Enssle, told The Namibian that foreign unskilled and semi-skilled labour has been imported while the country has an estimated 50 per cent unemployment rate. She said the Ministries of Labour, Works, Home Affairs and Finance would have to work together to implement the new regulation.
The Ministry of Home Affairs will be expected to tighten the criteria for issuing work permits while Labour should monitor employers.
A Government source told The Namibian that the new measure was aimed particularly at Asian construction companies, which have been accused of importing manual labourers at the expense of local workers.
Those cited most often are Chinese and North Korean construction companies.
Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has been pushing for a review of the laws governing the Tender Board.
In her speech at the opening of the Tender Board about a fortnight ago, she said a review of the Tender Board Act was long overdue since it did not address certain new developments in the country.
She added the Act should not only focus on the development objectives of the country but should look out for the interests of the Namibian people.
One of the issues she wanted addressed in the review was following up on the successful bidders’ commitment to affirmative action, job creation and the sourcing of local products.
National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Secretary General Evilastus Kaaronda welcomed the Tender Board announcement.
He said the Tender Board was now talking the same language as the unions – to help alleviate unemployment and poverty – and that the move will enhance skills in the country.
The Swapo Party Youth League, (SPYL) has been critical of the Tender Board for years.
SPYL Secretary Elijah Ngurare said the only winner in this regard is the Namibian people.
“We are happy, and hope that it is implemented fully,” he said adding that the SPYL wanted to see genuine “Namibianisation of tenders”.