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Mnangagwa says there is too much graft in procurement processes

by Staff reporter
07 Jul 2022 at 08:06hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said that the country's procurement processes are riddled with high level corruption, resulting in loss of funds.

He made the remarks while officiating at the Buy Zimbabwe 2022 Public Procurement Conference and Awards in Harare.

Mnangagwa's statement comes at a time when the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri's annual audit reports of government departments, state enterprises and parastatals have exposed gross corruption and failure to follow procurement procedures, resulting in billions of dollars being lost to graft.

He said public procurement processes ensure value for money, entrench a culture of competition, and promote transparency and accountability in public resource management.

"As will be outlined by the various Ministers who will address this conference, vast opportunities exist in our public entities across all sectors of the economy. This follows the bold, decisive and revolutionary decision of the Second Republic under my leadership to fundamentally transforming Zimbabwe through the awarding of procurement contracts and tenders to local enterprises. This has significantly helped to create and domesticate employment as well as improve our skills levels, while also saving the country, foreign currency," Mnangagwa said.

"I however, recognise that public procurement is one of the government activities most vulnerable to corruption. The volume of transactions and the financial interests at stake, compound corruption risks which are exacerbated by the complexity of the process, the close interaction between public officials and businesses, and the multitude of stakeholders."

He urged all stakeholders to come up with robust procurement frameworks that will deliver quality public goods and services.

The conference comes at a time when the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe is working on a number of reforms to curb corruption.

Mnagangwa said due diligence and meticulous administration of tenders across all levels of government must remain key components of public procurement.

"The adoption and use of e-procurement and e-payment systems must be speeded up to lessen face to face interface between bidders and those doing the tendering processes.  ICTs and administrative compliance measures must be deployed to eliminate interference, collusion, bid rigging or fraud by procurement officials. Wherever corruption occurs in the public procurement process, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), together with other law enforcement agencies must decisively apply the law without fear or favour."

Mnangagwa said the information gap in the country must be closed through training, registration and equipping of suppliers with management tools.

"I further challenge the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to refine the procurement policy and procedures to attract and ensure long term commitment by investors. PRAZ is directed to be a catalyst and not an impediment to our national development agenda," he said.

In 2020, his government came under fire over rampant flouting of procurement procedures. Former Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested and fired over the alleged awarding of a US$60m contract for COVID-19 supplies.

Last month, government was under fire over controversial of fire tenders for local authorities by the Local Government ministry from Belarus.

Each tender will cost US$464 296, when the same fire tenders cost US$30 000 in countries like China.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe