Kudzanai Sharara recently in NYANGA
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act,which is meant to regulate the procurement procedures at all state controlled institutions is expected to come into effect in January 2018. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act will repeal the Procurement Act as well as abolish the State Procurement Board which will become the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ). Speaking to The Herald Business on the sidelines of the CIPS Zimbabwe 2017 Annual Conference in Nyanga last week, Senior Procurement Executive in the Office of the President and Cabinet Nyasha Chizu said what is only left is the effective date.
“The next process is development of regulations which requires that we publish a notice for 30 days for people to inspect the regulations. So our plan is that after we get the go ahead from the Attorney General we will publish the notice on the first of November so that people can come to inspect the regulations. And if all goes according to plan we will close the window at the end of November and finalise the regulations. If that process goes according to plan then the Act will be effective in January 2018.”
Mr Chizu said what the new law will do is to separate the role of regulations and operations which the State Procurement Board was doing.
“It will also introduce professionalism to procurement as well as change the reporting structure with procurement professional now reporting straight to the accounting officer instead of just being a unit under the finance department.”
He said PRAZ will not conduct procurement proceedings but will instead oversee and regulate procurement activities conducted by government ministries, parastatals and local authorities. PRAZ will however have powers to issue directives to procurement entities (State controlled entities), order them to provide information about their procurement proceedings among other issues, to ensure compliance with the law. The Act sets out the procedures to be followed and the steps to be taken in procurement proceedings to ensure fairness, transparency and honesty. Clause 11 of the Act obliges the authority to report annually to Parliament on its activities and functions of the public procurement system.
Board members, employees and agents would be exempted from any liability unless their conduct was negligent or malicious or in breach of a contract. In a earlier presentation at the CIPS Conference, Mr Chizu said all procurement officers will now have to be registered by PRAZ after meeting certain requirements. He added that the procurement professionals will have their licences cancelled if they negligently stray from the regulations. Mr Chizu said some clauses of the Act are directed at trying to prevent accounting officers (Managing Directors and CEOs) and other officials of procuring entities from complying with illegal instructions given to them by their superiors like ministers and deputy ministers or other persons in that they should put their directives in writing.
“If they think an instruction is illegal, they will have to tell the person who gave them the instruction in writing why they think it is illegal. If, despite this, the person orders them to comply, they have to do so, but will report the matter to the minister and the Auditor-General and in certain cases to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet,” said Mr Chizu.
Meanwhile, CIPS Zimbabwe has since launched a local procurement body the Zimbabwe Institute of Procurement and Supply (ZIPS) .
CIPS Branch chairperson Michael Musanzikwa said the coming of ZIPS means, “we are now going to solve our procurement challenges as Zimbabweans but observing the international best practices in terms of procurement”.