Public procurement in Zimbabwe has been facing a multiplicity of challenges resulting in the public losing confidence in the system.
Conflict of Interest arises from the participation in procurement by people who are meant to benefit directly or indirectly thereby influencing the process to their advantage.
Numerous procurement decisions have been made in public procurement that points to poor evaluation of tenders leading to the supply of sub-standard goods and services compromising the quality of goods and services.
- OVERPRICING AND PRICE INCONSISTENCIES
There is a growing concern in public procurement where contracts are overpriced and price inconsistencies are observed.
A comparison of similar contracts executed between private and public enterprises will reveal that in most cases the latter are overcharged. This points out to possible corruption, collusion or lack of competition in tendering. Others have attempted to justify the increased price of public contracts attributing it to a risk premium considered by suppliers for delays in payment.
In some cases, the total cost of a contract is much higher than what was tendered for even in the absence of price escalation clauses in the contract. It is observed that in most cases the basis of awarding a tender is the lowest quote to specification and most tenderers present a lower bid just to win the contract but will inflate the cost at later stages.
The delivery of procured goods, services and completion of contracts is another major challenge to public procurement in Zimbabwe. In some of the cases, part or full payment would have been made in advance. Delivery is delayed by several weeks, months and even years negatively impacting on intended purpose of procured goods and services.
The State Procurement Board having the responsibility for public procurement is supposed to play a monitoring and supervisory role. However, current monitoring capacity and mechanisms fall short of the task at hand.
Public entities include over 60 local authorities and 110 other entities, stretching the capacity for monitoring. Poor monitoring increases the number of irregularities.