New NPA to start ops in September

Source: New NPA to start ops in September | The Herald July 1, 2016

Tinashe Makichi in VICTORIA FALLS

A new National Procurement Authority to oversee purchasing systems in Zimbabwe is expected to commence operations in September, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndlukula has said. The establishment of the NPA is part of Government’s strategy to modernise its public procurement system and help reduce opportunities for corruption.Under the modernisation programme, at least 200 procurement entities will be established countrywide as part of a decentralisation drive aimed at enhancing business efficiency and attracting investment.

The strategy was adopted after empirical evidence had shown a positive correlation between building robust procurement systems and investment activities in the country.

“Under the current initiatives aimed at promoting a conducive investment environment, we are going to set up the National Procurement Authority which we expect to be operational by September 1, 2016 and in this regard we are going to assign professional procurement officers who are trained and up to the task at hand.

“Since procurement is technical, the authority will be managed by experts within the procurement management units of entities to limit the scope of undue influence in all stages of procurement,” said Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndlukula at the ongoing Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Annual Congress in Victoria Falls.

The current reforms on the procurement regulations came following a general outcry on the inadequacies of the current Procurement Act (22:14) of 1999.

There have been reports of rampant corruption in the public procurement system with some sectors claiming that they have for a long time been short-changed by the current procurement system.

In view of these concerns, Government in 2011 undertook a country fiduciary assessment to evaluate the public finance management systems and procurement with support from the World Bank.

The reforms on the Procurement Act are in line with provisions of the Constitution which demands that procurement effected in a manner that is transparent, honest and competitive.

The procurement regulations are also being amended to enhance accountability and responsibility in procurement decision making where accounting officers now award tenders subject to the SPB issuing non-objection.

The proposed amendment Bill shall apply to the State, institutions and Government agencies at every level covering all types of procurement, stages of procurement from planning, contract award, contract management and contract disposal.

Dr Ndlukula said Government has made significant strides in creating a conducive doing business environment through the use of a rapid results based initiative.

The Rapid Results Initiative concept was adopted to set targets that would help improve Government’s capacity to diagnose institutional constraints and improve capacity for programme planning and implementation.

The areas identified by Government that needed reforms included; starting a business, construction permits and registering property, getting credit and resolving insolvency, protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts, and paying taxes and trading across borders.

The ease of business initiative is a Government-wide and multi-stakeholder programme which started in September 2015 driven by the Office of the President and Cabinet, with the support of the World Bank. It focuses primarily on improving the business environment and attracting foreign direct investment.

The Rapid Results Approach is yielding positive results and of particular mention is the consolidation of the processes to pay taxes at Zimbabwe Revenue Authority by the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund and the National Social Security Authority through the adoption of a single-window tax payment system.