PROCUREMENT sector should be protected in the constitution in a bid to ensure efficiency in the use taxpayers' monies, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Dr Ramadhani Mlinga, has said.
Dr Mlinga told the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in Dar es Salaam that with 70 per cent of national budget being spent on procurement, there should be stronger supervision powered by the constitution. In his brief to reporters, Dr Mlinga said there were various challenges facing the sector including corruption and awarding tenders to incompetent firms among others.
"Corruption and awarding tenders to incompetent firms is among the challenges that cost the country dearly. We need the new constitution to provide safeguards on procurement," he said. Dr Mlinga further said Kenya and South Africa already have the matter in their constitutions, the move which has increased efficiency in the procurement sector.
He said Tanzania has procurement law but the matter should be put in the constitution as a mother law which is not likely to be changed often unlike a law which can be amended through a bill tabled in the National Assembly. "If procurement matters are put in the constitution we shall be able to fight corruption elements and increase obligation," he said.
In another development, the authority has been ordered to prepare a comprehensive document on the things to be included in the constitution regarding procurement and present it to the CRC within two weeks.
In a recent meeting with lawmakers in Dar es Salaam, Dr Mlinga said that the trend of adding 10 per cent on commodity prices during procurement is widespread in the country. "There is a lot of taxpayers' money getting lost through procurement and without proper strategies to control; procurement could easily turn into a bottomless pit for national resources to the detriment of the nation's economy," he told MPs.
Dr Mlinga noted that statistics compiled by PPRA on procurement show that in 2007/07; 148 Public Entities spent 1.8 trl/- in procurement, in 2010/11; 315 public entities spent 4.52trl/- while in 2011/12; 319 public entities spent 4.32trl/-.