Blessings Chidakwa in Victoria Falls
The Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe is tightening screws to curb corruption which is bleeding the economy amid revelations that most procuring entities including Government ministries, parastatals and commissions are failing to comply with the emergency procurement reporting guidelines for Covid-19.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Willard Manungo, speaking during the PRAZ annual conference on the overview on compliance levels in relation to emergency procurements, said the Government expects the law to be strictly adhered to.
“I have been duly informed, through the periodic PRAZ reports emanating from its monitoring and evaluation processes, that while 203 procuring entities (59%) have been complying with the emergency procurement reporting guidelines for Covid-19, 142 procuring entities, (41%) are not fully complying with the set Covid-19 emergency procurement protocols.
“37% of suppliers used by procuring entities to procure Covid-19 emergency requirements have not been registered with PRAZ and a significant number of Covid-19 procurements (73%) have had no or inadequate supporting documentation,” he said.
Mr Manungo said while the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets set the procurement record adequacy level standard at 100%, the assessment of Covid-19 emergency procurements by PRAZ indicated an overall record adequacy level of 44%.
“Local Authorities being at 41%, ministries 35%, parastatals 46% and commissions at 37%. In addition, considerable procurements were still being done outside the framework arrangements.
“Some procurements were not based on the catalogue of items issued by the Ministry of Health and Child Care for supply the critical Covid-19 emergency needs resulting in wide ranging price variations,” he said.
Mr Manungo said PRAZ has also noted some declared emergency procurements whose deliveries were not confirmed and some payments which were delayed as well as paid outside the prescribed timelines.
“Non inconsistent submission of stipulated procurement returns to PRAZ is still a major compliance concern, resulting in continued obscurity of the emergency procurement affairs of some procuring entities.
“In addition, poor record keeping and reporting standards against issued templates and guidance provided by PRAZ and the PPDPA, results in incomplete, inaccurate and fragmented information flows, non-publication of contract award notices, engagement of unqualified personnel, misuse of procurement methods and thresholds and repeated non compliances despite PRAZ directives,” he said.
Mr Manungo said poor procurement contract management practices evidenced through contracts behind schedule and advance payments without risk cover for public funds and pricing variations across similar goods or services has been a concern for PRAZ together with the worrisome low Procurement Management Units (PMU) staffing levels coupled with poor vendor management practices.