Saturday, June 16, 2012
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Simeon Gboun
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:25 CAT
ALL government agencies and ministries dealing in procurement processes need cleansing to achieve efficiency and rid them of corruption, says works and supply minister Yamfwa Mukanga.
On Thursday, Vice-President Dr Guy Scott said the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) need cleansing and panel beating to improve on delivery of projects, especially in the road sector.
But sources say RDA does not have the capacity to effectively procure road works worth K4.2 trillion planned for this year following the dismissal of the entire procurement team last year in November by executive director Dr Michael Mulenga.
Vice-President Scott complained in Isoka that institutions like RDA and ZPPA did not seem to be up and carrying on working.
"There seems to be a lot of foot dragging going on inside these institutions and I think they need cleansing," said Vice-President Scott. "They need panel beating because the money is there...we don't want to open the door to corruption…to single-sourcing but at the same time we want to make the system work, that's the challenge that we have."
Reinforcing Vice-President Scott's concerns, Mukanga said there was need for government procurement agencies to work freely and transparently to be accountable to the nation.
"It is not only these institutions that require cleansing. I would like to extend this to all government agencies and ministries dealing in procurement processes," Mukanga said yesterday when he officiated at the RDA-organised "Roads Indaba" at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.
Mukanga said it was time for all officers involved in procurement procedures to start declaring their interests in companies they own.
"Even as RDA, declare your interest in the companies you own so that we know that you own a company; you own this and you own that company so that when time comes for giving out contracts, it will be done transparently and it will be better because we will see a situation where people will definitely become almost corrupt-free," he said.
"That is the cleansing we are talking about. This perhaps will help us to work transparently and free; and corrupt-free in the issuance of contracts. It will definitely reduce the corrupt tendencies that people have been talking about. We need to point figures, not at others, but ourselves and see how best we can contribute to the change of the environment."
Mukanga said the government would not tolerate sub-standard performance among contractors in the road sector.
"Government will not sit back and see its coffers being depleted without corresponding progress in infrastructure development," said Mukanga. "Government is ready to reward quality delivered projects and will deal swiftly and decisively with poor performers. It cannot be business as usual, we are in a hurry to see that there is progress."
Earlier, Dr Mulenga said RDA was concerned about the performance of some contractors and consultants.
"Our major concern is the workmanship in some road projects," said Dr Mulenga. "We believe that the presentations during the Roads indaba will greatly help in refocusing ourselves to the funders, the government and people of Zambia…"
And sources within ministry of works and supply said RDA currently had "serious procurement bottlenecks".
"The guys who knew and understood how to draw tender documents have all been fired and right now, RDA has a backlog of works that need to be procured but the questions is 'who is going to draw up the tender documents?' I wonder how the government is going to expend K4.2 trillion planned for this year," said the sources.
In November 2011, Dr Mulenga fired more than 15 senior and junior officers in the procurement department without giving any reason for the massive terminations.