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Government procurement law pins hope on Public Private Partnership

Government procurement law pins hope on Public Private Partnership

The Ministry of Finance is repealing the Tender Board Act with effect from 31 March 2017 and replacing it with the Public Procurement Act from 1 April 2017.

The new policy intends to represent an improvement of public procurement, aligning it with the national development agenda.

New regulations include declaring all bids above a certain threshold to be submitted to the Central Procurement Board for processing.

The National Assembly will elect the Central Procurement Board and appoint Board members in addition to setting up a Review Panel. The minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein said this panel will consist of fifteen experts who will serve on a temporary basis to adjudicate over reviews of bids should any dispute arise.

The minister said that the new public procurement law streamlines already existing developmental and empowerment instruments within government and the private sector. From a governance perspective, he said that the Act establishes itself as operationally autonomous, but publicly accountable to governance structures as its applies to the entire public sector.

Schlettwein said that this is especially significant, noting that public sector consumption of goods, works and services account for well over 60 % of domestic demand for these services.

Considering the empowerment and national preferential treatment provisions in this new law Schlettwein said it brings into force the Public Procurement Act, designed to boost economic activity by safeguarding the integrity of government spending.

“There has been a lot of publicity on the need to improve the ethics, efficiency and effectiveness of the current Tender Board and its administrative apparatus in terms of governance and the application of the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability as well as value for money” stated the minister.

Effective performance and internal control mechanisms of the previous procurement law also came under question when Schlettwein delivered the announcement, saying that some of the tender prices become over-inflated in the process.

Schletwein mentioned how in some instances, the government and other public enterprises had to deal with various courts cases as a result of proven inconsitencies in the allocation of state tenders.

“It is expected that the new regime under the Public Procurement Act will greatly usher in expertise, ethical and effective leadership, public accountability and legitimacy as well as a system of internal control and evaluation, Schlettwein said.

For the new Tender Board, some members have been appointed on a 5-year full-time tenure while other will serve the board part-time on a three-year tenure.

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