SPEECH BY ACTING CEO MR CLEVER RUSWA ON THE MEDIA ENGAGEMENT ON THE AMENDMENTS TO THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC ASSETS (PPDPA) ACT [CHAPTER 22:23]
State enterprises have adopted program-based planning and to us as the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), media engagement is one of the key sub programs which we value so much.
From a PRAZ perspective, media engagement enhances accountability, transparency while increasing participation of the citizen and stakeholders through your well researched and balanced articles that informs, educates and above all empowers citizens and stakeholders to make informed decisions.
It is against this background that we feel honoured to host you today as we unpack the developments in the public procurement sector.
We believe the media deserves a face to face engagement as we seek to clarify issues, highlight changes and share trends in the sector.
This justifies why the Authority has embarked on this meeting coming at a time where engagements are now being mostly done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought about a “New Normal” way of doing business.
I welcome you all esteemed members of the Fourth Estate to this Media Engagement on which the Authority would like to share with you the proposed amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDPA) Act [Chapter 22:23], coming three years after the promulgation of the Act The PPDPA Act is one of the key deliverables of the Second Republic.
It is therefore imperative to align the legislation to the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe based on recommendations borne on gaps identified during the implementation of the PPDPA Act and the need to provide for flexibility in volatile economic climate.
The three years that PRAZ has been in operation witnessed stakeholders implementing the PPDPA Act and just like any new legislation, some gaps were identified during implementation which needs to be attended to for the good of the economy.
The Authority has been undertaking stakeholder engagements for the whole of March and managed to meet key sectors such as IInsurance; Health; Motor Industry; SME’s: Women, Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation; Information Communication and Technology; Environment, Tourism and Hospitality; Agriculture; Education; Various Stakeholders incorporating Law Enactment, Performance Audits, NGOs, Development Partners; Consultancy and Nonconsultancy services.
It has been an eventful period in which all these engagements were taking place virtually.
In my presentation I will highlight some of the proposed major amendments to the PPDPA Act.
Section 3 (Application of the Act) of the principal Act is amended by the repeal of the subsection (6) and substitution with the following:
“Section 3 (6) The Minister with recommendations from the Authority, that publication of information concerning certain procurements may prejudice the procuring entity concerned, may declare that no public notice shall be issued to certain procurement of goods, works or services classified as-
(a) procurement in the interest of defence;
(b) procurement in the interest of public security;
(c) procurement of national interest;
(d) strategic procurement and procurement of trading stock by State Entities operating in competitive markets.
Provided that the Authority shall ensure that a copy of such exemption is kept at its office and is open for inspection by the public at reasonable times.
In addition, to the clause on those State entities operating in competitive markets if they are to make public their procurement, by the time they complete the procurement as a State Entity their competitors in the private sector would have taken the idea and implemented it.
This section will therefore consider their plea for confidentiality to their intellectual property.
Section 15 (2)(c) Authorisation in terms of subsection (1) shall be valid for a period of one year from the date on which it was given and may be renewed for further such period.
In the Act before proposed amendment it was valid for a period of two years.
Section 54 (2) of the PPDPA Act on the composition of the Special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC) members has the Auditor General or his or her authorized delegate employed in the Audit Office as a member.
It should be put on record that the Auditor General recused herself from participating in SPOC as she will audit the same entities that participate in SPOC.
Given this background there will be an amendment to Section 54 as follows:
(a) by the repeal of subsection 2
(b), for provisions of the Auditor General in the Committee. (C) by the insertion of the following new subsection
12: “(12) The quorum of the Committee shall be two (2) subject to conditions of section 2.
Before the expiry of the period of bid validity, the Procuring Entity shall notify the bidder and the contract shall not be signed until at least the number of days prescribed in the Regulations have passed following the giving of that notice.
The PPDPA Act Section 100 in subsection 3 where it says that “If Cabinet, in terms of the Joint Ventures Act, directs a contracting authority to receive tenders for a joint venture project from one of two or more identified counterparties in accordance with the law relating to public procurement.
The proposed amendment of the PPDPA Act section 100 (3) will be the deletion of one of.
The current section does not expound on issues of bilateral engagements that are there encompassing now Zimbabwe
Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) in Joint Ventures on who then goes to engage in the bilateral engagements.
Still on that note when there is need to go and procure through bilateral agreements the Act does not expound on who goes and procures.
That is when at times there are procurements that miss the specified goods and PRAZ is requested to condone such procurements.
That is why there is the proposed amendment. 8. Insertion of new section to C The Principal Act is amended by the insertion after section 102 of the following new section – “102A.
Offences and penalties stating that: Any violations of provisions of the Act shall be an offence and the regulations shall provide penalties for- (a) violations of the Act that are criminal and (b) violations of the Act that are administrative.”
There have been proposals by the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Zimbabwe proposing the following:
(a) Alignment of the PRAZ Act and Regulations to the SME’s policy: The SMEs policy (Ministry of Women Affairs, Community & SME Development) provides that 25% of procurement by Government should be from SMEs.
(b) Alignment of the PRAZ Act and Regulations to the Local Content Strategy objectives:
The Local Content Strategy (Ministry of Industry and Commerce) aims to increase local content levels from 25% to 80% by 2023.
To aid PPDPPA Act and Regulations need to incorporate weightings for local content, with preference being given to bidders providing local content, and to local manufacturers over importers/middlemen. (c) Incorporation of devolution provisions:
The proposal is to amend the Act to incorporation of devolution principles, with bidders in specific provinces and districts getting preferential access or weighting.
The Authority will be incorporating these amendments as inclusion of SMEs fosters competition by helping more firms to enter the market and helping to grow the market and push innovation.
It also aids in achieving better value for money such as through more suppliers resulting in more competition, SMEs fostering local benefits.
In addition, it will aid in achieving better quality of service given that SMEs have short management chains so they respond quickly and with more flexibility and potentially.
The inclusion of SME’s will aid in PRAZ achieving its mandate of promoting an efficient, fair, competitive and transparent public procurement in Zimbabwe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to indicate that the public procurement reforms are ongoing as the Authority tailor makes such reforms to world class standards tailor made to fit in our Zimbabwean situation.
I now call upon for your questions or clarity pertaining to the amendments of the PPDPA Act and Regulations.
I thank you all.