PUBLIC procurement is one of the main areas open to abuse and corruption in the country.
It is very clear that people in the public service are not ready to follow procedure and have resorted to shortcuts when it comes to procurement of goods and services. The tender procedures are very clear but in most cases these procedures are ignored with impunity. In other instances, guidelines are followed just for formality because the government already know the company they will award a particular contract.
It is more worrying that the government has actually turned to single sourcing as its preferred mode of procurement in most of these ministries. Deals are being sealed for big projects involving the supply of various goods, services, the construction of infrastructure and many other key works without following proper procedure.
We need to ensure that public service workers adhere to the guidelines set by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) when contracting suppliers of goods and services. ZPPA cannot just be there to rubberstamp deals that are sealed at midnight by the powerful without their involvement. ZPPA cannot just be there to issue statements at press briefings, endorsing certain transactions even when the people in that institution know deep down in their hearts that they have nothing to do with a particular contract. We have seen this happen and it should not be tolerated.
The corruption in procurement is also disadvantaging other companies, which have the capacity to supply goods and services to the government. We have cases where projects that can be handled by small local companies are given to foreigners at a huge cost while in other cases, big contracts are given to companies or friends of the powerful whose briefcase companies’ capacity to deliver is questionable. You cannot have a country where the preoccupation of those running its institutions is to amass wealth, expect kickbacks, cuts and favours in every transaction.
We will not make any development progress as a country if we do not spend our country’s resources prudently. If the insatiable appetite to seal questionable deals at midnight in exchange for kickbacks, cuts and favours is not addressed, we will continue to lag behind as a country and poverty will continue to ravage our people. No matter how much we publicise the national anti-corruption policy and the implementation plan, corruption will reign if nothing is done to stop it in the various key areas such as procurement. We will continue to talk about unemployment, disease, floods, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, poor healthcare and education services for years to come if Rupiah and his friends do not stop the rot that is going on in procurement.
We know that contracting is the main way in which any government operates and spends public money. We know that these contracts are the vehicles for implementing public policy but these vehicles should not be used to amass wealth at the expense of poor Zambians. The country’s efficiency in delivering services and ensuring development to the people will largely depend on how much we control corruption in procurement and it is possible to do this.
We need to understand that corruption in procurement impedes economic development, affects the efficiency of public spending, creates waste and affects the quality of service provided and ultimately the quality of life.
Labels and Tags
Accountability (68) Adequate documentation (5) ADR in procurement (3) Allocation of risks (5) Best interest of government (11) Best practices (19) Best value (15) Bidder prejudice (11) Blanket purchase agreement (1) Bridge contract (2) Bundling (6) Cancellation and rejection (2) Centralized procurement structure (12) Changes during bid process (13) Clarifications vs Discussions (1) Competence (9) Competition vs Efficiency (28) Competitive position (2) Compliance (32) Conflict of interest (29) Contract administration (25) Contract disputes (1) Contract extension or modification (8) Contract terms (2) Contract types (6) Contract vs solicitation dispute (2) Contractor responsibility (19) Conviction (3) Cooperative purchasing (3) Cost and pricing (13) Debarment (4) Determinations (8) Determining responsibility (33) Disclosure requirements (7) Discussions during solicitation (9) Disposal of surplus property (3) Effective enforcement requirement (34) Effective procurement management (3) Effective specifications (36) Emergency procurement (14) eProcurement (5) Equitable tolling (2) Evaluation of submissions (22) Fair and equitable treatment (14) Fair and reasonable value (23) Fiscal effect of procurement (13) Frivolous protest (1) Good governance (8) Governmental functions (26) Guam (14) Guam procurement law (12) Improper influence (11) Incumbency (12) Integrity of system (29) Interested party (7) Jurisdiction (1) Justification (1) Life-cycle cost (1) Limits of government contracting (5) Lore vs Law (4) market research (7) Materiality (3) Methods of source selection (30) Mistakes (3) Models of Procurement (1) Needs assessment (11) No harm no foul? (8) Other procurement links (14) Outsourcing (33) Past performance (12) Planning policy (33) Politics of procurement (46) PPPs (6) Prequalification (1) Principle of competition (90) Principles of procurement (22) Private vs public contract (15) Procurement authority (5) Procurement controversies series (77) Procurement ethics (17) Procurement fraud (27) Procurement lifecycle (9) Procurement philosophy (15) Procurement procedures (29) Procurement reform (59) Procurement theory (11) Procurement workforce (2) Procurment philosophy (6) Professionalism (17) Protest - formality (1) Protest - timing (11) Protests - general (35) Purposes and policies of procurement (9) Recusal (1) Remedies (16) Requirement for new procurement (4) Resolution of protests (4) Responsiveness (12) Restrictive specifications (4) Review procedures (12) Scope of contract (16) Settlement (2) Social preference provisions (59) Sole source (47) Sovereign immunity (2) Staffing (7) Standard commercial products (1) Standards of review (2) Standing (6) Stays and injunctions (6) Structure of procurement (1) Substantiation (9) Surety (1) Suspension (6) The procurement record (1) The role of price (10) The subject matter of procurement (22) Trade agreements vs procurement (1) Training (32) Transparency (60) Uniformity (5) Unsolicited proposals (2)
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Procurement controversies -- Zambia
The rot in public procurement