Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
CAPTAINS of industry have said the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset Policy will promote the local procurement of goods as well as curb underhand dealings in the acquisition of assets by Government and its various departments.
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset Bill sailed through the committee stage in the National Assembly two weeks ago and is now before the Parliamentary Legal Committee to check for its constitutionality.
The Bill would ensure that evaluation of bids by procuring entities gives preference to bids from Zimbabwean or local suppliers and manufacturers. The Bill was also expected to ease the extent to which Zimbabwean or local suppliers and manufacturers participate in the supply of goods, and construction works and services in accordance with provisions in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo said the enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset was likely to improve productivity and viability of local manufacturers as well as create more employment opportunities.
“Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset should have minimum local content rules from a national as well as from regional or community perspective, for example, a Bulawayo wholesaler must purchase a certain percentage from within Bulawayo to attract industry and employment to the city,” said Mr Moyo.
Zimbabwe Building Contractors’ Association president Mr Obert Sibanda said the Public Procurement and Disposal of Asset Policy was likely to ensure efficiency and transparency in the procurement process.
“Well I haven’t gone through (the Bill) it in detail but the whole idea is to improve procurement process or procedures and to have the procurement handled by qualified personnel and it is going to be handled by user departments and Ministries as well as decentralise the procurement process and that will encourage efficiency and transparency,” said Mr Sibanda said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mr Davison Norupiri said the enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset Policy would improve the Ease of Doing business while also enhancing “procurement local content”.
“We welcome the idea because it will quicken the process of public procurement and remove the issue of bottleneck which also continues to affect the Ease of Doing Business and it will also enhance transparency because there will be a regulatory body which will oversee the procurement process…It will also decentralise power in terms of procurement thus addressing issues of delays in processing and agreements,” said Mr Norupiri.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa said the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset was likely to curb the unnecessarily importation of goods that could be sourced locally.
“It’s very important in the sense that it will formulate a law which will enable us to come with local content regulations.
People should not just import unnecessarily. Government and parastatals contribute the biggest chunk of procurement and if the policy is implemented we will promote local companies,” she said.
Last year State Procurement Board started registering suppliers in line with Section 25 of the Procurement Regulations to ensure that suppliers of goods and services under the $10 000 competitive tender threshold, complied with requirements of Section 34 of the Procurement Act that demanded them to meet the minimum requirements to trade with the public.
Zimbabwe is one of the pioneer procurement reform countries in Africa, having established a procurement law in 1999. In the last eight years, the World Bank has supported procurement reform and capacity building in Zimbabwe, including the 2011 Country Procurement Assessment Report, training of procuring agencies and capacity building of the State procurement Board.
The country has been losing a lot of foreign currency through importing goods some of them that are readily available in Zimbabwe. Last year the country imported goods worth US$5,2 billion according to Zimstat.