State Pro­cure­ment Bill ready for gazetting

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira

THE Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment and Dis­posal of Pub­lic As­sets Bill, which seeks to strip the State Pro­cure­ment Board of its pow­ers to award ten­ders, is ex­pected to be gazetted to­mor­row be­fore it is tabled in Par­lia­ment for de­bate.

Af­ter the ini­tial gazetting by Par­lia­ment, the Bill goes through pro­ce­dures in­clud­ing de­bates in the Lower and Up­per Houses of Par­lia­ment and pub­lic hear­ings. If the Bill passes, it is sent for Pres­i­den­tial as­sent af­ter which it will be gazetted to be­come law.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­posed law, the award­ing of ten­ders would now be done by ac­count­ing of­fi­cers in var­i­ous State de­part­ments and com­pa­nies with the SPB play­ing a su­per­vi­sory and mon­i­tor­ing role to en­sure Gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties com­ply with the law and other set stan­dards.

This is also in line with the Gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness in Zim­babwe.

There have been al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in award­ing of ten­ders at SPB, while other stake­hold­ers com­plained of de­lays in ad­ju­di­cat­ing ten­ders thereby af­fect­ing ef­fi­ciency in Gov­ern­ment.

Clerk of Par­lia­ment, Mr Kennedy Chokuda said the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment and Dis­posal of Pub­lic As­sets Bill was one of the Bills that were due for gazetting.

“We’ve re­ceived Bills from par­ent min­istries and have sub­mit­ted them to the print­ers for gazetting,” said Mr Chokuda.

Soon af­ter gazetting, the Bill would im­me­di­ately be re­ferred to the Parliamentary Le­gal Com­mit­tee for scru­tiny if it is con­sis­tent with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Mudzi South MP Cde Jonathan Samkange chairs the PLC. The rel­e­vant port­fo­lio com­mit­tee would also be ex­pected to con­vene pub­lic hear­ings to get views of stake­hold­ers on the Bill be­fore tabling a report in Par­lia­ment’s ple­nary on their find­ings.

The Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to abol­ish the SPB fol­lowed the dis­cov­ery that there could be loop­holes that could have fa­cil­i­tated cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties in pro­cure­ment of goods and ser­vices.

The Gov­ern­ment wants the SPB to be a stan­dard set­ting agency as part of broader strate­gies to elim­i­nate bu­reau­cratic red tape hin­der­ing For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment in­flows in the coun­try.

Pub­lic pro­cure­ment en­ti­ties, in this case, in­cluded Gov­ern­ment min­istries, paras­tatals, state en­ti­ties and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Ex­ist­ing pro­cure­ment pro­cesses for State-run in­sti­tu­tions and paras­tatals have been tak­ing too long to ap­prove, whereas their pri­vate sec­tor coun­ter­parts were not bound by the same sys­tem in procur­ing goods and ser­vices.

The trans­for­ma­tion of the SPB was con­sis­tent with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic blue­print Zim-As­set call­ing for high ef­fi­ciency in the ser­vice de­liv­ery sys­tem.

Also to be gazetted, is the Ju­di­ciary Laws Amend­ment Bill that is set to align the laws with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Mines and Min­er­als Amend­ment Bill has been re­ferred to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice for fur­ther re­fine­ment.

The Bill is set to strengthen min­eral ex­plo­ration as the Gov­ern­ment pushes the ‘‘use it or lose it’’ prin­ci­ple to com­bat peo­ple who hold claims for spec­u­la­tive pur­poses.

There have been sev­eral com­plaints of peo­ple hold­ing on to claims for spec­u­la­tive pur­poses, thus un­der­min­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in the min­ing sec­tor which has the po­ten­tial of en­hanc­ing gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

Deeds Registries Amend­ment Bill is also due for gazetting.

Cde Jonathan Samkange

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