Cash-strapped govt over­charged by up to 1 000 per cent – SPPRA study

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - BY ZWELETHU DLAMINI

At the height of the coun­try’s ail­ing econ­omy, com­pa­nies sup­ply­ing gov­ern­ment goods are mak­ing a killing as a study by Swazi­land Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity (SPPRA) has re­vealed that they over­charge by up to 1 000 per cent.

The cash-strapped gov­ern­ment is said to be los­ing mil­lions of Emalan­geni due to lack of proper pub­lic pro­cure­ment con­trol mea­sures, which makes it easy for com­pa­nies to sell goods and ser­vices to gov­ern­ment at in­flated prices. This has been re­vealed by a study that was con­ducted by SPPRA that has since been sub­mit­ted to t he min­ist r y of f i nance. Gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to save a lot if the rec­om­men­da­tions of the study are fol­lowed to the let­ter.

In an in­ter­view with this pub­li­cat i on, S PPRA CEO Madoda Mn­gomezulu con­firmed the study and its find­ings which re­vealed that some goods were over­charged by com­pa­nies sup­ply­ing them to gov­ern­ment. Mn­gomezulu did not like to delve much into de­tails of the re­port as he said more would be shared on a fu­ture date once the re­port has been launched. He, how­ever, re­vealed that it has al­ready been sub­mit­ted to the min­istry of fi­nance. “No, we are not dis­sem­i­nat­ing the re­port yet; you will get it once we have launched it. I think it will be soon. The re­port is still with the min­istry of fi­nance and there are al­le­ga­tions that gov­ern­ment is over­charged in some items,” he said.

The CEO stated that the study was a price ref­er­ence pro­ject for com­mon use items. In­for­ma­tion gath­ered sug­gests that gov­ern­ment is over­charged on stores items and con­struc­tion.

“Some of the over­charged goods are the com­mon use items that are used by ev­ery­one such as com­put­ers, sta­tionery, print­ing and stores. Another area where gov­ern­ment is over­charged is in con­struc­tion things. The chal­lenge is that among the peo­ple who con­duct the eval­u­a­tion (the ten­der board) there is no one with the ex­per­tise on con­struc­tion, hence the sup­pli­ers charge gov­ern­ment ex­or­bi­tant prices and they are ap­proved,” said a source who pre­ferred anonymity.

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