The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has given companies who were paid but didn’t deliver their goods or services a deadline of 7 days to do so.
Finance Secretary, George Guvamatanga said if they don’t deliver, they will face legal action and their personal property may be taken away. These companies are sometimes called “air suppliers” because they deliver nothing.
Guvamatanga was speaking in Harare on Monday 24 April 2023 at the launch of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the Zimbabwe Financial Reporting Manual presided over by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
He said the public procurement system has been invaded by tenderpreneurs who collude with some corrupt officials within the government to process payment often running into hundreds of thousands of US dollars in the full knowledge the culprits have no capacity to supply what they promise. ZimLive cites Guvamatanga as saying:
_We also realised another disturbing trend in the public procurement system which is what is called in the streets as air supply…where actually orders and invoices are generated, and payments are made but nothing is delivered. They would have supplied air._
_So, we are actually further strengthening our public procurement system._
_We have got several cases currently under investigation of air supply and the culprits will be dealt with across the whole of the system, whether it is from government to the suppliers._
_They will be dealt with, with the sternest measures that they deserve but we have further engaged the process working closely with PRAZ (Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe) to ensure that our processes and systems actually work much, much better._
_This is a very strong warning to all those who have been involved in this air supply; that your time has come to an end and the systems that we have put in place will make sure that you are all plucked out wherever you are hiding._
_I guess for those who are smart enough, maybe in the next seven days, I might advise you maybe to find the goods that you were supposed to deliver and deliver them because we are coming after you._
Guvamatanga said the measures will involve the seizure of cars and homes from government officials found to have colluded with the tenderpreneurs if they do not have savings in their bank accounts.
He could not readily state how much the government has been conned by the dealers.