—-Minister of Tourism and Arts, Sylvia Masebo, has implored the Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS) to help government to fight corruption in the procurement process.
And the ZIPS has appealed to President Michael Sata to appoint a procurement advisor at State House to oversee the procurement process to drive and accelerate development.
Ms Masebo said there was a lot of corruption in the procurement of goods and services in both the private and public sectors and called on the profession to seriously work with government to stamp the vice.
She said this when she officially opened the first ZIPS National Conference held at Sun Zambezi Hotel yesterday, under the theme, “Recognizing procurement’s Role in Decentralisation”.
Ms Masebo pointed out that government was committed to root out corruption in all sectors including the procurement sector which she said was one of the entry points to corruption.
“This profession has the potential to mess up with government and it has messed up with successive government before because of rampant corruption in the procurement process,” said Ms Masebo.
“And I feel ashamed to have been part of the previous government which failed to even build a university because of corruption in the procurement process and our appeal as government is for you to help us to get rid of this vice so that we can achieve development,” Ms Masebo said.
She also urged the profession to ensure that all procurement processes in infrastructural development ahead of the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly (UNWTO) was free of corruption.
The minister also implored the ZIPS to employ only qualified personnel to improve efficiency in service delivery and to make itself known in order to be appreciated by both the government as well as the people.
And Ms Masebo said government was committed to implement the decentralisation policy, adding that ZIPS can play an indispensable role in the whole process.
“Over the years the pace of decentralization has been a frustrating but with the coming of the Patriotic Front (PF) government steps have been taken to ensure that this goal is realized,” Ms Masebo said.
She also said those that are true leaders support the decentralisation policy because once fully implemented it will allow sharing of the country’s resources and facilitate active participation of people in decision making at grass root level among other benefits.
Ms Masebo, however, said although there has been a few minor hitches in the implementation of the policy such as capacity building of personnel, it was possible to move people with capacity to districts to run the operations of government at district level efficiently.
“I think lack of capacity has always been an excuse by leaders in the past to implement but I also think it is possible to transfer some people with capacity at headquarters to run operations at district level,” said Ms Masebo.
ZIPS president, George Mumba, said it was important to have a procurement advisor at State House to ensure that the right procedures are followed in the procurement process and avoid corruption.
“The decision by government to move the Road Development Agency(RDA) to State House because of the enormous public procurement processes and expenditures involved shows that that government recognizes the importance of having a strong procurement and supplies chain management to drive and accelerate development in the country,” said Mr Mumba.
“And it is in this vein that we ask President Sata to consider appointing a procurement advisor at State House to advise the Head of State on matters of procurement in both the private and public sectors.
Meanwhile,Mr Mumba said a total of US384,000 was sourced from Public Expenditures Management and Financial Accountability (PEMFA) in 2011 to finance the ZIPS Business and Sustainability Plan, preparation of curriculum and Syllabus, Review of Curriculum and Syllabus, publication and adverts for the ZIPS Act no. 15 of 2003 and the membership register.
He explained that the implementation of these projects was on course and is expected to be completed by the end of February, this year.
Mr Mumba said the syllabus in place means that the country has achieved a milestone in the history of purchasing and supply management.
He also pointed out that another achievement has been the engagement of five more ZIPS part-time inspectors that will be visiting all organizations in the country to ensure compliance to the ZIPS Act failure to which those found wanting would face sanctions and penalties with effect from April, 1, 2013.
Mr. Mumba emphasised said ZIPS was in total support of the PF government stand and vision of fighting corruption and commended government for the strides made so far.
“The supply chain management plays a very important role in the economy of the country and so ZIPS will work closely with the central government and other institutions such as Transparency International (TIZ) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to ensure the procurement and supply chain management function in this country is free of corruption,” said Mr Mumba.
Mr Mumba further said ZIPS introduced Annual Media Awards to be given to deserving journalists who will consistently report on the performance of the supply chain management within the country, adding that the this year’s media awards will be held in December.