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Procurement council of Zimbabwe a need

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Regulation of buyers is an additional pillar to enshrine integrity, moral, and ethical behaviour in the implementation of laws governing procurement in Zimbabwe.

The regulation of professionals is not novel in the country. The Engineering Council Act (Chapter 27:22) Act No. 3/2008 controls the engineering practice.

The rationale was “to establish an Engineering Council of Zimbabwe and to provide for its functions and powers; to provide for the registration and regulation of the engineers and technicians” and to provide for matters incidental to, or connected thereto.”

Similarly the Legal Practitioners Act (Chapter 27:07) regulates lawyers. Regulation of specific professions is therefore something that has precedent in Zimbabwe.

Considering instruments in other African countries will also show that countries are moving towards statutory regulation of the procurement profession.

In Zambia the legislature, in 2003, enacted the Zambia Institute of Purchase and Supply Act, which is “an Act to establish the Zambia Institute of purchasing and Supply, to provide for its functions; to constitute the council of the institute; to provide for the registration of members of the institute and to provide for matters connected or incidental to the foregoing”.

Part III of the Zambian Act aforesaid provides for the establishment of a Council for the Zambia Institute of Purchase and Supply whose functions are as follows:-

“6(a) exercise the functions of the institute;

(b) Set minimum educational and other qualifications or requirements of persons enrolled as students of the Institute;

(c) Enrol students of purchasing and supply management and to keep a register of all the enrolled students;

(d) Determine fees to be paid by any member or other person in respect of courses and examinations set by the Council;

(e) Set and establish such courses of study or syllabus whether graduate or otherwise as it is necessary;

(f) Confer certificates on persons who are successful candidates in the examinations conducted by the Council; and

(g) Set, establish and monitor standards for persons employed in purchasing and supply management.”

Part IV of the Zambian Act provides for membership, qualification criteria, maintenance of a register of all members, penalises the practice or offer of services of purchasing and supply management by unregistered people as well as cancellation of registration.

Part V of the Act provides for the setting up of a Disciplinary Committee whose functions are:

“28(a) to hear and determine any complaint or allegation against a member of the Institute;

(b) hear and determine a complaint or allegation against a committee of the Council; and

(c) do all such acts and things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the functions of the Disciplinary Committee.”

Section 30 thereof also provides for the penalties to be imposed by the Disciplinary Committee where a member is, after due enquiry, found guilty of misconduct. The Committee is empowered to:

(a) Order the de-registration of the member;

(b) Censure the member;

(c) Recommend to the Council the suspension for one year of the member or the expulsion of the member; and

(d) Order the member to pay a fine to the Council and any other costs.

Statutory regulation in addition to procurement laws will induce buyers to desist from corrupt tendencies.

Unethical behaviour may be restricted by the penal provisions provided by law as well as the fear of the professional consequences like de-registration which will imply that a buyer will not be able to practice anymore impacting significantly on one’s income and employment.

It is about time Zimbabwean legislature takes regulation of buyers seriously.

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