By Wisdom Mumera
Government says it is confident that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPAA) which replaced the State Procurement Act will go a way long in plugging resource leakages and eliminating corruption in public entities
The repealed SPA had a lot of loopholes that allowed officials in government institutions engage in corrupt activities that saw the state being prejudiced of millions of dollars.
Presenting the PPDPAA to heads of parastatals at a meeting, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula said the new Act sets public entities on a positive course to reinvent themselves from being loss makers.
“The reforms are aimed at eliminating corruption and resource leakages, which have had a ruinous and detrimental effect to our economy.
“It is without doubt that the implementation of the new Act will elevate procurement as one of the strategic policy levels to advance socioeconomic growth and sustainable development,” he said.
Dr Ndhlukula added that the new Act provides for the modernization and professionalisation of the public procurement system to enhance its integrity.
Under the new Act, accounting officers will be in charge of procurement whilst boards can only oversee; procurement has also been decentralized whilst technology has been harnessed through the e-Government system.
Procurement in government has for long been mired in corruption with various officials being accused of fleecing the state through shady procurement deals.
Earlier last year Auditor General Mildred Chiri exposed four state enterprises and parastatals that were flouting tender procedures in their procuring of goods and services worth millions.
The four are the National Railways of Zimbabwe ($1.4million), the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board ($7 million), CMED ($1 million) and Grain Marketing Board ($1.5million).
Loss-making parastatals continue to undermine the country’s economic recovery efforts particularly through their financing from taxpayers’ funds and domestic borrowing.
This has increased calls for their privatisation a move which government seems to have embraced in light of recent announcements about calls for expression of interest.
Corruption has been one of the main hiccups to Zimbabwe’s development under former President Robert Mugabe who allowed its various forms to flourish.