Public procurement chews 70% off national budget – official

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HARARE – Expenditure on procurement to provide public goods and services such as health, education, defence and infrastructure accounts for up to 70% of Zimbabwe’s national budget, a senior government official has revealed.

Speaking at the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe 2020 Summer School in Harare, Secretary in Vice-President Constantine Chiwenga, Godfrey Chanakira, said effective public procurement systems assist governments to realize better value for money.

The systems, he said, also reduce pressure on public budgets while attracting private investments adding that government and PRAZ had begun the process of professionalizing the practice of public procurement in Zimbabwe.

“The process is intended to ensure that public procurement practitioners adhere to high ethical standards. When the draft professionalization regulations currently being reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office become law, persons practising public procurement will be required to be qualified and in possession of a valid licence to practice.

“While being professionally qualified and licensed does not eliminate corrupt tendencies in a person, it does help to hold such persons to account by laying down expected standards of behaviour by which their conduct will be judged. Deviant conduct and behaviour will result in the licence to practice being withdrawn,” Chanakira said.

Delegates included officials from the World Bank, United States of America and South Africa.

The Summer School comes three years after the promulgation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act which brought about a paradigm shift in public procurement management systems.

“With just a few months remaining before the expiry of the extended transitional period, I must say great strides have been made by procuring entities in complying with the PPDPA Act.

“Open and regular dialogue with procuring entities, suppliers and business associations reinforces mutual understanding of the factors shaping public markets,” he said.

Government was in the process of effecting the Electronic Government Procurement System (e-GP) which if fully operational will make PRAZ an efficient entity.

“The strategic benefits of e-GP are to improve service delivery to citizens in respect of quality, timeliness and the scope of services that can be provided as well as strengthening public financial management through availability of real time expenditure data.

“The development of a more transparent and efficient procurement system will be supported by electronic portals,” Chanakira said.

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