Procurement Authority board appointed

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President Mnangagwa has appointed an eight-member board for the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to oversee State procurement in the country. The authority, which replaces the State Procurement Board (SPB), is expected to bring efficiency, with procurement now reverting to accounting officers in their entities in line with best practice the world over. Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday said prominent lawyer Mrs Vimbai Nyemba would chair the board.

She will be deputised by former SPB chairman Ambassador Buzwani Donald Mothobi. Other members are Retired Colonel Joseph Mhakayakora, Engineer Cletus Nyachowe, Ms Ntombehle Moyo, Mrs Roseline Nhamo, Ms Ottilia Murasi and Retired Major Dr Thomas Utete Wushe. Dr Sibanda said the appointments were done in terms of Section 8 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.

The new board, evenly balanced between men and women, is expected to decide the fate of former employees of the disbanded State Procurement Board. The workers are fretting over their future as they are yet to get letters of termination of employment. The award of tenders will now be done by accounting officers in various State departments and companies, with the authority only playing a supervisory and monitoring role to ensure Government entities comply with the new Act and other set standards.

The Government Gazette of August 4, 2017 published the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:23) that provides for the control and regulation of public procurement and the disposal of public assets to ensure the process is transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive; to establish the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe; and, to provide for its functions.

The scope of the new Act regulates the whole procurement cycle from planning, approaches to the market, evaluation and award of tenders, contract management and disposal of assets. The Act provides for modernisation and professionalisation of public procurement and also covers public entities as defined in Section 2 of that Act.

It is believed that Government has been losing public funds through inefficient and ineffective procurement processes, which often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard goods. In some instances, procurement officers have been accused of inflating the cost of goods and services.

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