An assessment of the impact of ethical practices in the public procurement process on Namibia's socio-economic objectives.
Hamutenya, Fransiska Kandambo
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Discussions around the public procurement system in the local media have been largely negative. Many articles have revealed mismanagement in the system. The emphasis of these articles has been on the need to uphold transparency and accountability in the way public procurement is conducted in Namibia. The Namibian experience is that the tendering process seems transparent on the surface, especially in connection with the sending out of tender invitations. However, the process becomes less transparent during the awarding process, which has in some instances necessitated recourse to the courts. As a result of these course cases, it could be said that the Namibian community has reached a point where the weaknesses in the current public procurement system can no longer be ignored. This study sought to address some of the flaws in the public procurement system, by interviewing people who have some knowledge of the system. Findings of the study confirm that there are weaknesses in the current system which needs to be addressed. The results further show that the control mechanisms that have been put in place are seriously ineffective. After reviewing the control mechanisms in place, suggestions are made to strenghten them. In terms of socioeconomic development, the findings indicate that the public procurement system could contribute to job creation and poverty reduction. The study also reveals that there is no comprehensive code of ethical conduct for Board Members and staff in the public procurement establishment. The researcher suggests that further research be conducted on areas that were not touched on in this study, such as the practice of exemptions, to evaluate the impact of exemptions on the image of the Tender Board, on the Secretariat, and on the tender process – in the context and spirit of anti-corruption.
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