Dar es Salaam. The Procurement Act, 2011 is outdated resulting in loss of public funds.
This is according to the The Tanzania Citizens’ Information Bureau (TCIB).
The bureau, through its lawyer Neema Kimambo, has therefore urged Members of Parliament to push for the amendment of the law.
Speaking in a meeting on public procurement, held in the city, Ms Kimambo said the law has imposed a lot of taxes on tender procurement processes, something that gives room for corruption to take place, particularly when procurement is to be done urgently.
“There is an duplicity of duties among institutions dealing with public procurement between the Public Procurement Division and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA). They basically undertake the same tasks,” she said. “We are currently fighting against bureaucracy, but the existence of different organs doing the same work attracts corruption. I think it is the right time for the government to amend the Public Procurement Act of 2011, especially the issue of emergence procurement.”
Apart from loss of public funds, Ms Kimambo said the procurement procedure puts much emphasis on bidders offering low prices, without taking into consideration the issues of quality, which also causes the burden of costs on the part of the government.
TCIB director Deus Kibamba said the aim of collecting stakeholder views and presenting them before parliamentarians is to find a way of eliminating the burden of losses that the government shoulders because of an outdated law.
“Parliament is an important organ when it comes to fair and competent public procurement, and this is through the enactment of laws. There is no need to wait for the government to start the process,” he observed.
He said there was no point for Parliament to be sidelined when it comes to public procurement, but the law, in its present state has many grey areas that must be fixed to remove the shortfalls.
“Public procurement is the most important aspect in the country’s economy as more than 75 per cent of the national budget is spent on it. Unfortunately, it creates so much room for corruption to take place,” he said. He said the ongoing construction of infrastructure on energy and transport as well as purchase of planes should involve Parliament and their procurement contracts must be reviewed in Parliament.
The bureau also said it was preparing a guidebook for parliamentary engagement in achieving effective public procurement.
The guidebook will become operational in January, 2020 and will contain common guidelines for legislators to get valid information on the public procurement contracts and monitoring the purchasing processes. So far, the guidebook is in the final stages of completion, whereby TCIB is now collecting opinions from stakeholders before launching it and handing it over to Parliament during January’s Parliament session.
“We have prepared these guidelines for legislators because we understand their roles as citizen’s representatives and lawmakers. We believe that if they fully participate and monitor public procurement deals, the misuse of public funds will also be monitored,” Mr Kibamba said.
However, the guidebook will show how the legislators can work with CAG and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) on taking legal measures to those seem to violet the public procurement laws and regulations.