Government must clean up Tender Board

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Accusations by Finance minister Tendai Bit that the State Procurement Board (SPB) is awarding contracts to companies that have no capacity to carry out tendered projects makes sad reading.

Biti on Tuesday accused SPB of awarding contracts to companies that have no capacity to carry out projects.

It also emerged that some of the companies being awarded tenders were demanding deposits to enable them to start the projects.

Biti specifically mentioned Eleco Elevator Company that was awarded a tender to install and fix elevators at Kaguvi Building in Harare.

The company was blacklisted by the government in the past because of inefficiency.

As expected the company has not fixed the elevators and some ministers have been forced to abandon their offices because they cannot climb the stairs to offices as high as the 16th floor.

This should never be allowed to happen.

There is no doubt there is need to reform the board if citizens are to benefit from the projects funded directly by their taxes.

It, therefore, goes without saying that there is need for transparency in the manner tenders are being awarded.

How companies that have previously been blacklisted for incompetence are given an opportunity to fail again at the expense of the taxpayers boggles the mind.

Indications are that despite funds being made available to the companies, they have even failed to carry out the jobs.

This brings to the fore the quality of decision-making at the SPB.

Going forward, we believe the government should act urgently to ensure proper systems are put in place to plug any loopholes and ensure that deserving companies were awarded tenders on merit.

In our view the SPB should strive to deliver a system of public procurement that will ensure support for the government’s policy objectives and deliver value for money.

The decisions of the board should be seen by all stakeholders, including those that have would failed in their bidding, as fair, equitable and professionally arrived at.

There was recently a furore over the awarding of the $5 million energy-saving bulbs tender resulting in it being cancelled twice.

All these issues point towards the need to reform the SPB as a matter of urgency.

While there has been discord in the inclusive government, we still expect them to act in unison in ensuring the SPB delivers and meets public expectations.