Treatment of Zimbabwe buyers 'pathetic'

10 February 2011
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10 February 2011 | Nick Martindale

Buyers in Zimbabwe are “treated like clerks”, the CIPS representative for the country has said.

In an interview with SM, Nyasha Chizu warned that the profession is unable to influence strategy at a senior level, to the detriment of organisational performance and the bottom line.

With procurement still being seen as a largely transactional function, Chizu said, “very few organisations have recognised procurement as a management function”.

Chizu, who is also a procurement consultant, said: “Most purchasing managers report to finance, operations or engineering. This creates incongruence that affects the performance of the function to assist in service delivery.”

He believes they should instead report to the CEO, managing director or general manager as a support function, in the same way audit, legal and other departments report.

“The situation is more pathetic in the government departments,” he added. “The function is a sub-function of administration instead of including maintenance or transport, which rely heavily on the sourcing of services under procurement.”

The introduction of multiple currencies to replace the Zimbabwean dollar has brought more stability in the way contracts are managed but uncertainty over the political situation makes long-term planning difficult, said Chizu.

“The country is under a temporary administration and that makes it less attractive for long-term contracts and international financing and can even affect long-term financing from local financial markets,” he said.

CIPS is currently lobbying the government to create a system of self-regulation that would issue guidance to buyers and help with public procurement.

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