21 November 2012

Zambia: Transparent Public Buying System Vital - Chikwanda

FINANCE Minister, Alexander Chikwanda has called for an effective and transparent public buying system to enhance economic growth and development.

Mr Chikwanda said yesterday when he launched the standard bidding documents in Lusaka that public procurement was a critical component in the management of public resources.

Standard bidding documents, which were part of the on-going reforms in the public sector, were aimed at achieving optimum degree of order in the procurement process as well as reducing bureaucracy and tender processing time.

"It follows that an inefficient and bad procurement system can be a major impediment to growth and development especially that the acquisition of works, goods and services by the public sector have to go through such a system," he said.

The minister who is chairperson of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA), said it was important that a modern public sector was built on a sound procurement system that was transparent, efficient and corrupt-zero rated.

"More importantly, the procurement system must be an important catalyst in achieving value for money.

Hence the need for procurement reforms has become an immediate necessity," he said.

Mr Chikwanda said the Government had been pushing for the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy since taking over last year in order to ensure that every citizen accessed public service regardless of the location.

He noted that the enactment of the Public Procurement Act and its regulations now provided a good platform for a decentralised procurement process.

The role of the ZPPA would from January 1, 2013 change as the institution would now assume an oversight and a regulatory role while the procurement function would be decentralised and devolved to procurement entities.

ZPPA recently made an upward revision of thresholds which marked another important chapter in the procurement reforms.

Mr Chikwanda noted that the newly launched measure would rationalise the procurement process and enhance efficiency and effectiveness as well as provide a basis for conducting fair, transparent and credible tender processes.

He applauded the commitment and continued support from cooperating partners as well as the contribution from civil society organisations

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