Tenders cartel issue taken to Parliament

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Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
PARLIAMENT is set to debate a motion on the possible existence of a cartel which controls who is awarded a tender or not, following claims that enterprises from Matabeleland provinces are being sidelined, especially for hospital works.

The latest move follows years of complaints that some of those who would have been awarded tenders under questionable circumstances have failed to deliver or have provided sub-standard service.

In an interview yesterday, Matabeleland South MP Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said within the next two weeks she will table a motion in Parliament on the allocation of tenders. She said there is a growing trend where tenders are mainly awarded to companies from Harare countrywide to the detriment of local industries.

“I’ve got a motion actually on the order paper and the results that I found are frightening. I should be bringing it within a week or two.

“You’ll find that someone from Harare is doing debt collection for United Bulawayo Hospitals or Mpilo Central Hospital as if there are no debt collectors in Bulawayo,” she said.

Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said it seems there are elements within the State Procurement Board who  have become an organised clique involved in unscrupulous activities when it comes to the awarding of tenders.

“It’s a real scandal in that we have a cartel of people unfortunately most of that cartel is a cartel from one region. It’s corruption and corruption that is dominated by a small cartel,” said Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

She said the decentralisation of the SPB could address some of the problems that are occurring.

Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said it was her hope that the Procurement Bill will, if passed into law, usher a new era of dealing with tender issues where locals will benefit from tenders floated by local companies or Government departments in the provinces.

Affirmative Action Group deputy president Mr Sam Ncube concurred saying corruption and fraud made it impossible for local business people to be awarded tenders.

He urged legislators to push for a level playing field in the SPB.

“The way the tender system was designed actually makes it very difficult for someone outside Harare to participate in the tender. Those documents are only found at the tender board in Harare. You already incur transport costs before you start thinking of the tendering itself. That on its own is a serious inconvenience for the people of this region,” said Mr Ncube.

He urged the SPB to set up satellite offices in areas like Bulawayo.

Last year, it was revealed that Bulawayo City Council lost more than $300 000 in botched ambulance and vehicle tracking system deals to two briefcase companies from Harare. Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube has since admitted that council was not going to recover some of the money as one of the companies has untraceable addresses.

@nqotshili

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