Byo residents resist procurement Bill

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Parliament is considering submissions made by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) against the proposed amendments to the General Laws Amendment Bill (GLAB).

The Bill seeks to amend 17 Acts of Parliament and correct errors that have been noted in the existing legislation since the enactment of the General Laws Amendment Act, 2005.

The Bill also seeks to make minor amendments that may not warrant the introduction of a separate Bill for each enactment.

According to the latest Parliamentary publication, Hansard, BPRA said discrepancies in the amendments related to issues such as centralisation, increased relocation and closure of factories, loss of jobs and shifted employment opportunities, prolonged delays in service delivery, corruption, absence of accountability and the election and composition of the State Procurement Board.

However, of concern to BPRA was the proposed amendment, which would result in the buying of goods by urban councils to be confined to Harare by the State Procurement Board.

Some clauses in the Procurement Act seek to centralise all procurement of local goods in urban and rural authorities, resulting in the abolition of procurement boards in the country’s 91 local authorities, creating one state procurement board.

BPRA argued that centralisation of the procurement system as envisaged in the GLAB would not bring about improvement in service delivery but create unnecessary bottlenecks in the procurement of goods and services.

“Decentralisation is necessary in local government issues as it develops better understanding and strengthens civil participation as citizens become involved in governance issues,” said BPRA.

The association also submitted that the State Procurement Board had no capacity to respond to all emergencies from 91 local authorities at short notice, hence the need to decentralise.

“The overload and pressure on one office can cause delays in the process, resulting in deplorable service delivery,” the residents’ organisation argued.