Source: Bill to clip SPB wings sets sail | The Herald August 11, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira : Senior Reporter
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill — which seeks to strip the State Procurement Board of 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 Government’s intention to improve the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
There have been allegations of corruption in the 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 have 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 legislator Cde Jonathan Samukange 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.
Government’s decision to abolish the SPB followed the discovery that there could be loopholes that could have facilitated corrupt activities in the procurement of goods and services.
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 into 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 Government pushes the use it or lose it principle to combat people who hold claims for speculation 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 the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Deeds Registries Amendment Bill is also due for gazetting.