PRAZ to roll out e-procurement 

Source: PRAZ to roll out e-procurement | The Herald

PRAZ to roll out e-procurement
Clever Ruswa

Michael Tome and Malvern Nkomo

THE Procurement Regulatory Authority Zimbabwe (PRAZ), intends to start rolling out the electronic government procurement (EGP) programme in the second quarter of this year, as part of reforms designed to minimise corruption and interference in public procurement

Mr Clever Ruswa, the PRAZ chief executive officer, said that the State procurement regulator would spend about US$2 million on the various stages of implementation over of the three-year phased programme.

The programme was, initially, supposed to be bankrolled by development partners through the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF), but the plans were held back by resource limitations.

Mr Ruswa said in October last year President Mnangagwa pledged to support the authority with funding and has since made good on his word allowing the programme to kick off.

Currently, PRAZ is using the modular approach where supplier registration is partially done online, or alternatively where bidders access PRAZ services through Zimpost infrastructure, which is dotted around the country.

EGP, also known as e-procurement or supplier exchange, is a business-to-business process of requisitioning, ordering, and purchasing goods and services online facilitating interactions between preferred suppliers and customers through bids, purchase orders and invoices using a supplier’s closed system.

Vendor management or supplier management is one of the most important aspects of e-procurement. It involves both supplier relationship management and supplier information management. It eliminates the need to manually carry out laborious, procurement-related tasks, exchanging supplier contracts, and filling out supplier onboarding questionnaires.

The process works by connecting various entities and processes through a centralized platform.

Mr Ruswa highlighted in an interview that PRAZ had embarked on the EGP journey as part of the first phase of reforms to public procurement being carried out by the authority.

“This process will bring efficiency into the system, reduction of face to face engagement, and automatically issues to do with corruption will fall by the wayside, we understand that bidders will have confidence in the system and bidders outside Zimbabwe will be able to participate on the platform with ease,” said Mr Ruswa.

He said the process was targeting to have at least 80 percent of procurement entities on board by the end of 2022 while the remainder will be taken care of in the next financial year.

“We categorise our procuring entities in terms of their budget spending, so the first batch we are targeting to be on board are those big spenders. We are starting to work with the first batch from May onwards, then, in the second half of the year we take some on board.

“A lot of work has been done so far in terms of coming up with a portal, right modules and we intend to incorporate the disposal side of things,” he said.

According to Brian Chigerwe, a procurement practitioner, the move will allow for efficiency in procurement activities at the same time reducing human interference in the process.

“e-Procurement systems allow greater flexibility and control over every aspect of a purchasing process. From controlling who can input an order, to who can approve and purchase it, and finally, who can receive against or pay it—control is central to the modern e-Procurement system.

“You can even manage who can see the details of a transaction,” said Mr Chigerwe.