Buyers 'need recognition'

18 January 2011
Southern African governments confirm SACU commitment
Botswana launches local sourcing scheme
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Vision for the future

19 January 2011 | Nick Martindale

The Botswanan government must invest in its procurement capabilities if it is to turn around the country’s budget deficit, a leading academic has claimed.

Thuso Mphela, a lecturer in logistics and supply chain management at the University of Botswana, called on the government to recognise the job procurement professionals do and ensure they are sufficiently trained and recompensed.

“The procurement profession can seriously turn the situation around,” said Mphela, who made his comments in The Botswana Gazette. “These are the people who manage the government’s huge purse. Making sure they are trained and have the requisite knowledge is critical for this country. The profession should be recognised as a strategic partner to the government and the private sector.”

The western world had long realised the value of procurement as a means of driving down costs, he said, while South Africa should be praised for recognising CIPS as a training provider. But no such acknowledgement had been made in Botswana, he complained.

“The positive role of procurement in private businesses and governments has been proven,” added Mphela.

“Greater efficiencies and savings are realised through the adoption of appropriate techniques in sourcing merchandise and the daily needs of organisations. Knowing what to buy, when, how and where to buy from can be quite complicated, especially in this globalised economy.”

Mphela was responding to the admission by acting minister for defence, justice and security Lesego Motsumi, that the government did not know who ran the companies that won contracts to supply vehicles to the defence forces between 1990 and 2000, which he said had “shamed” the procurement industry.

“The minister’s statement implies that the procurement profession in Botswana, particularly in the public service, is not recognised,” he said.

“This is bad for the government but much worse for the procurement profession.”

Mphela asked whether it was a vote of no confidence in the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Board, which adjudicates and awards tenders for central government.

Motsumi made the admission in response to a parliamentary question asked by Wynter Mmolotsi, MP for Francistown South.

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