Agriculture ministry extends NAMSIP implementation period

• By Uaueza Kanguatjivi

THE Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry says the N$1.42 billion Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (NAMSIP) has been extended by 18 months to December next year.

The project was planned to be implemented over five years, with an initial end date of December 2022.

According to the ministry, the extension was necessitated due to several factors, including protracted consultations on implementation modalities and the COVID-19 lockdowns, which delayed the start of the project implementation.

“In accordance with the conditions model of the loan agreement, within six months of the loan agreement’s signing, the borrower is required to provide evidence of the hiring of three technical advisors (TAs), each with credentials that the lender bank will accept, in the areas of irrigation, crop mechanisation, and certified seed,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Procurement Framework for Bank Group-Funded Operations, August 2015 version, which is available on the bank’s website, was followed for establishing the eligibility criteria, creating the shortlist, and conducting the selection process for hiring the TAs.

“In this regard, individual consultants from regional and non-regional members of the AfDB were eligible to participate in this African Development Bank-funded project,” the ministry stated.

The Ministry of Agriculture said this while responding to allegations of improper engagement in hiring Ghanaian consultants who, according to sources, lacked the required credentials to serve in that capacity.

The validity of the Ghanaian consultants’ certifications and the thoroughness of the Ministry’s Human Resources division assessments were cast into doubt following assertions that the consultants were unqualified compared to the 20 engineers already employed at the ministry.

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