Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s Public Procurement Modernisation Programme has yielded a number of positive results, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chairperson Vimbai Nyemba has said. She was speaking at the launch of PRAZ in the capital yesterday.
The reforms were necessitated by the requirement to realign procurement laws with provisions of Section 315 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and were informed by a Country Fiduciary Integrated Assessment that produced a Country Procurement Assessment Report, which was funded by the World Bank.
“The project achieved the following results: It came up with new procurement laws; we now have the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:23) and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (General) Regulations (Statutory Instrument 5 of 2018). These instruments have changed the landscape of public procurement.
“The project developed the e-procurement strategy that was adopted by Government,” said Mrs Nyemba.
“It also developed e-procurement system requirements and statement of user requirements that were adopted by the Government. As I speak, once the funds are available, we are ready to approach the market.”
And ultimately, the promulgation of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act Chapter 22:23), brought PRAZ into existence last year, replacing the largely inefficient State Procurement Board (SPB).
Officiating at the launch of PRAZ, President Mnangagwa has said the time is up for corrupt elements that abuse public procurement systems.
“The past culture of collusion between public officials and cartels or third parties in our procurement systems should be stopped.
“I am aware that some Government Departments have a tendency of grossly inflating prices of essential capital goods to the detriment of the ordinary people, who have been going without services,” he said.
“My Government will not tolerate such filthy, criminal and greedy tendencies.”
The restructuring of the public procurement process means that the awarding of tenders will now be done by accounting officers in various State departments and companies, with the PRAZ only playing a supervisory and monitoring role to ensure government entities comply with the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
The Act’s role is to “provide for the control and regulation of public procurement and the disposal of public assets so as to ensure that such procurement and disposal is effected in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, cost- effective and competitive.”
President Mnangagwa added that Government will strengthen the capacity of PRAZ so that it “effectively” meets its mandate.
“It is disheartening that purchases had been characterized by inflation of prices and other malpractices like doubling costs for self-serving objectives.
“I am aware that some Government officials would inflate figures. That should stop. I challenge PRAZ to effectively carry out its mandate, play its mandate in a way that inspires confidence,” he said.
“I am aware that PRAZ does not have teeth.
“We will give you the teeth. It will not be acceptable for there to be bottlenecks caused by PRAZ. PRAZ must always supervise entities below it.”