30 Oktober 2020 | Gesellschaft

How SME businesses can be eligible when applying for a tender

Johanna Kambala

1. Where to find tender opportunities

There are various procurement methods identified in the PPA, hence the type of procurement method will determine how it will be made known to the prospective bidders or the public at large. For example, in terms of Section 28 of the PPA, all Open Advertised Biding requires to be advertised in a newspaper with wide circulation. Most of the public entities advertise their bids in the print media and on their websites and social media platforms. It is thus imperative that SMEs make it a habit to buy newspapers every day as well as to visit the websites of various public entities to look for bidding opportunities.

2. How the procurement process works

The procurement process starts with the advertising of the bid by the public entity, which requires prospective bidders to acquire Standard Bidding Documents (SBD) either for free or by paying a certain amount. The standard rates for the purchase of bidding documents are as stipulated in Annexure 4A of the PPA Regulation. The Board or a public entity must set a deadline for the submission of bids, applications for pre-qualification and expressions of interest so as to allow sufficient time for the preparation and submission, with a view to maximising competition, which may not be less than the prescribed minimum period (The deadline may not be less than 30 days from the date of publication).

3. What to plan before you bid

One of the requirements to participate in the procurement process is that prospective bidders should have valid mandatory documents as per Section 50 (2) of the PPA (Good Standing Certificate from the Social Security Commission, Good Standing Tax Certificate from the Ministry of Finance and Affirmative Action Certificate from the Employment Equity Commission). These mandatory documents have expiry dates.

Submitting valid documents means that the documents should be valid within the closing date of the particular bid e.g. if a bid is closing on 30 October 2020 and one of the bidder’s documents is expiring on 29 October, this will result in the bidder being disqualified from the bidding process. It is thus imperative that SMEs have their mandatory documents updated on a regular basis.

Furthermore, the Standard Bidding Document is a comprehensive document which requires a detailed eye and thus cannot be completed in a rush. This is one of the reasons why SMEs are failing to succeed in the bidding process because they don’t spend enough time to complete the SBD thus omitting some of the information required e.g. failure to initial each page or to attached certified copies of the company directors.

How are bids evaluated

Evaluation of pre-qualifications or bids for procurements are usually done by an appointed ad hoc Bid Evaluation Committee as per Section 26 (1) of the PPA.

The Public Entity shall use the criteria and methodologies listed in the Standard Bidding Document, no other evaluation criteria or methodologies shall be used. The Public Entity shall award the Contract to the Bidder whose offer has been determined to be the lowest evaluated bid and is substantially responsive to the Bidding Document, provided further that the Bidder is determined to be qualified to perform the Contract satisfactorily.

* Johanna Kambala works for the Central Procurement Board of Namibia as the marketing and stakeholders engagement specialist.