Walter Nyamukondiwa in KARIBA
Government is moving to set up an e-procurement system to plug revenue leaks caused by inefficiencies and corruption associated with the current tendering process.
These are part of the reforms to modernise the State Procurement Board and address gaps in the institutional and legislative framework.
The e-procurement system is part of the e-Government programme encapsulated in the Results-Based Management (RBM) system Government adopted recently.
Addressing the second Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) conference here on Friday, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula said the reforms should bring accountability and transparency in the procurement process.
“As part of upscaling the implementation of the Results-Based Management system, Government undertook a bold decision to reform and modernise the State Procurement Board in order to address identified gaps in the institutional and legislative framework,” said Dr Ndhlukula.
The modernisation aspect of the SPB will culminate in the establishment and implementation of an e-procurement system in Zimbabwe as part of the e-government programme.
Studies by Government and various partners have shown that revenue is being lost through an inefficient, costly and time-consuming tendering process that is prone to corruption.
Reforms will do away with the paper-based procurement system.
He said the broader objectives of the reforms were to increase capacity to achieve economy, efficiency and accountability in service delivery.
He said Government was working on a new draft Public Procurement Bill with the assistance of technical partners to be submitted to Parliament for debate and possible signing into law by mid- 2016.
The reform process is being undertaken with technical and financial assistance from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Dr Ndhlukula said public procurement should demonstrate to taxpayers and citizens that money and other resources are being used optimally for national development.
“In view of the central role played by the SPB in promoting sustainable development, Government has to ensure that its performance is in sync with the needs and expectations of the citizens, suppliers, manufacturers and other economic agents,” he said.
He said capacity-building to enable public sector agencies to meet the new requirements of public procurement would be undertaken starting with central government, followed by State enterprises and parastatals, and then local authorities.
Reforms will also see the devolution of the procurement processes to ministries, departments, local authorities and agencies with the SPB becoming an independent procurement authority whose role is to monitor and evaluate processes.
It will also develop guidelines and standards for procurement of goods and services.
A special committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda has been set up to spearhead the reform process.
Dr Ndhlukula said CIPS had a critical role to play in reforming the procurement process.
CIPS Zimbabwe branch chairman Mr Michael Musanzikwa hailed Government’s decision to reform the procurement process and called for qualified procurement personnel.
“Currently we have accounting officers playing the role of procurement executives when they are not qualified to do the work. It is a specialised area that is better handled by people trained for it,” he said.
The position was reiterated by a procurement professional, Mr Nyasha Chizu, who said misplacement of competence resulted in numerous cases of fraud in the procurement process.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mr Davison Norupiri said kickbacks and inducements in the procurement process contributed to the overall price of products.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo said a holistic approach was need to make Zimbabwean products competitive in the region and beyond.