- The initiatives include promoting the bulky procurement of goods, removing the role of clearing agents and other middlemen in the procurement process and by turning itself into a warehouse for procured products.
Dar es Salaam. The Government Procurement Supplies Agency (GPSA) has said it undertakes several initiatives to ensure Tanzanians get the value for money, when the government buys goods and services for public offices.
The initiatives include promoting the bulky procurement of goods, removing the role of clearing agents and other middlemen in the procurement process and by turning itself into a warehouse for procured products.
Despite its tender age, considering that it was inaugurated just eight years ago, GPSA believes it has already helped Tanzania to save billion of shillings in connection with the procurement of goods meant for use by public offices.
“In the financial year of 2014/15, GPSA saved Sh3.6 billion for procurement of 433 vehicles and 40 motorcycles for 88 public institutions,” GPSA acting chief executive officer Jacob Kibona told The Citizen earlier this week.
The government spent more than Sh65.7 billion for the purchase. Another Sh382 million would have been spent by public institutions in tendering processes had the GPSA not come in.
The vehicles and motorcycles were bought through bulk purchasing in which GPSA placed orders direct from manufacturers despite facing some resistance from some of them who, at times, want the agency to buy from their (the manufacturers’) agents.
He said recently that the saved money would be directed towards other public development projects such as improvement of road infrastructure, health and education sectors.
Similarly, GPSA provides clearing and forwarding services to government ministries, departments and agencies, local government authorities and other public institutions in a cost-effective manner for their imports and exports.
During the 2016/17 financial year alone, the GPSA cleared government goods worth more than Sh160 billion from various ports and borders.
The amount includes the two Bombardier Q400 turboprop commercial airliners, which were purchased from Canada to boost the performance of Air Tanzania Limited.
It also cleared several goods imported for the national information and communication technology (ICT) backbone project as well as those imported by the Tanzania Revenue Authority and of the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
He said GPSA also stored goods for government institutions and had warehouses in almost every region in the country.
Apparently, the GPSA’s importance became more vivid in September last year, when an earthquake - measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale - struck Kagera Region in September, killing at least 19 people and injuring over 500 in the process.
“During that time, our warehouses were used in storing goods donated for the victims,” he said.
Kibona said according to the law, the core function of his agency was to buy, store and distribute common use items and services needed in performing the government’s daily activities, noting that by storing goods, it was still performing within its jurisdiction and saving the country the burden of paying for such services expensively to private companies.
It is basing on such a background that GPSA now plans to put up its warehouses and petrol stations in Geita, Njombe and Simiyu regions.
According to Mr Kibona, the agency has already acquired plots in the regions to carry out the projects.
“The aim of constructing storage facilities and petrol stations in the regions is to improve the GPSA activities to serve public institutions countrywide,” he said.
Since between 70 and 80 per cent of the country’s budget is spent on procurement services, the government believes this is the sector that deserves special impetus.
As a link between the buyer and the supplier, procurement assures the availability of equipment, installations and equipment for contractors.
The deputy minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, insisted that all public institutions should procure their common use items and services through the GPSA as a way of controlling the misuse of public funds.
She said recently that GPSA had a noble role of ensuring that there was value for money in every purchases made by public institutions.
“Previously, a car costing Sh40 million would be purchased at Sh80 million. We do not want such cases to happen again. It’s your role now to restore trust to the public on the use of public funds,’’ she said recently.
From its various undertakings, GPSA earned revenue, which had jumped from Sh492.3 million in the 2007/09 financial year to Sh7.5 billion in 2015/16.
In the financial year of 2016/2017, GPSA did not receive funds from the government to run its activities, but used its internal sources to get going.