New procurement law faces resistance

Most parastatals are not adhering to new public procurement procedures, with some resisting the changes meant to encourage transparency in the process, the regulatory authority has said.

By Freeman Makopa

Speaking at a breakfast meeting for the media in Harare yesterday, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) chief executive, Nyasha Chizu said accountability issues continue to affect parastatals and State-owned enterprises.

“We are facing a challenge of resistance by some entities and as we speak, 174 of the 294 entities have not yet registered with Praz before they start procurement. Many cases are at the courts of those entities that have violated the normal processes,” Chizu said.

“There is a level 14 fine for corporates and level 10 or imprisonment of up to six months for individuals who leak information and those who fail to preserve records.”

He said corruption in the State procurement process is what led to the creation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act that dissolved State Procurement Board at the beginning of this year in favour of Praz.

Currently, the Act only prescribes imprisonment and punitive fines as punishment for contractors that violate the legislation. However, these penalties have largely been considered weak in deterring offenders.

Chizu said the authority was working towards an electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) system where the whole procurement cycle of public entities from the procurement plan, bid notices and award of contracts is publicised on the Praz website. The e-GP will also allow for bidding to be done electronically, allowing competition by domestic and international bidders and reducing the costs involved.

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