The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Nghidinua Daniel, says capital projects in //Karas Region are not properly supervised.
Daniel, who this week met with officials from the //Karas Regional Council and various local authorities, expressed concerns about the state of capital projects, indicating that more needs to be done for government to get value for money.
Speaking to New Era Weekend telephonically, Daniel indicated the meeting focused on toilet projects and a review of other capital projects ongoing in the region.
He said he was not impressed by some of the work done by some contractors, noting that some contractors have abandoned their work, while some toilets were not constructed in accordance with government specifications, while some were too costly.
A source close to the regional council informed New Era that Daniel was particularly concerned that some of the constructed toilets at some villages allegedly cost about N$90 000 per toilet, which left the administrator speechless as to how this is possible.
Daniel could however not confirm that the cost of some of the toilets was indeed that much, but stated that it’s true that some toilets were constructed at an abnormally high cost.
“Not to say that your amount is correct but then how can you spend so much on one toilet, while the Shack Dwellers Federation can build a whole house with the same money or even less?” he questioned.
He added that the ministry has done an audit that was made available to the regional council, and these misalignments did surface.
Daniel further stressed that it’s very clear that such capital projects are not properly supervised, and hence his consultation with the regional council and local authorities to map a way forward on how best to make use of the little funds available to build more toilets for rural communities.
“In some areas proper supervision and quality control were not done and we don’t want to make the same mistake,” he said.
He said although the bucket toilet system will not be phased out all at once, the plan is to go step by step as funds permit and eventually cover all places facing this problem.
The regional council’s chief regional officer, Saul Kahuika, informed New Era that project supervision remains a huge problem for the region, citing the unavailability of deputy director-general services and consultants in the region as one of the contributing factors.
“The supervision is there but maybe the distance is a problem as consultants come only once in a while, thus contractors are sometimes reluctant to work,” he stated.
He indicated that there are cost overruns with some capital projects, but he is adamant that moving forward things will get better in terms of implementation and project supervision, adding that his team aims to do more with less, and do so efficiently.