Zimbabwe overhauls procurement authority

3 January 2018

Zimbabwe is set to appoint a new public procurement regulatory authority.

The existing State Procurement Board (SPB) has been dissolved and is due to be replaced by a new body, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PBA), the state-owned Herald newspaper reported. 

The new system will give more responsibilities to devolved procurement entities, with the PBA only becoming involved in purchases over a certain threshold. The move is part of an existing plan to reform public procurement in the country, as part of the Ease of Doing Business reforms started under the former president Robert Mugabe.

The changes are a result of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, passed last August, which also legislated to make public procurement more effective, competitive and transparent.

Boniface Chidyausiku, a former SPB board member as well as permanent secretary to the Office of the President and the Cabinet, said the new system would be in line with global best practice, according to the Herald.

“The decision to procure now rests with the accounting officer, whereas in the old system they used to send documents to SPB for approval. We came up with the new system following consultation with the World Bank and the African Development Bank,” he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwe, who replaced Mugabe after a coup last November, put an emphasis on reducing the size of government early on in his presidency.

He said: “My government will have no tolerance for bureaucratic slothfulness, which is quick to brandish procedures as an excuse for stalling service delivery to the citizens, investors and other stakeholders.”

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