There is urgent need to review the State Procurement Act to curb cases of corruption, bureaucracy in the tender system, and awarding of tenders to undeserving contractors and/or those who fail to perform, Parliament recommended on Tuesday.
A report presented by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion represented by Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure also recommended the State Procurement Board (SPB) should establish a website with all information pertaining to State tenders so that those outside Harare could apply through e-mail without having to travel all the way to Harare.
“The tender system should be centralised because most tenders are advertised in The Herald, favouring contractors in Harare and the process is costly and time-consuming as it demands those outside to travel to Harare, and as a result most of them are disqualified for late submission of applications,” Madzimure said.
“They (SPB) should establish a Website from which forms for tenders can be downloaded and submitted electronically.”
The report also noted that there had been delays in completion of projects by some contractors without capacity and the SPB had no evaluation and monitoring mechanism, leaving those to be done by accounting officers in ministries, who in most cases failed to do so resulting in some projects taking as long as 13 months to complete.
“The SPB has limited human and financial capacity to assess procurement and they have 30 officers against a staff requirement of 50. The SPB often disregards recommendations by professional teams, but the committee recommends their input should be taken seriously and ensure non-performing contractors are held to account,” Madzimure said.
Parliament also said it had observed there was awarding of tenders to foreign contractors at the expense of locals. According to the regulations, local contractors should be awarded 10% of the tenders, but during public hearings they had demanded between 25% and 30% of the jobs.
“The committee did not agree to that proposal, but is in favour of a slight adjustment to that percentage. There was also concern by stakeholders over corrupt tendencies where tender documents were said to be opened before official opening, suggesting that some people were privy to results of the SPB decisions before these were made,” Madzimure said.