WB hails public systems reform

Pamela Shumba Bulawayo Bureau
THE World Bank (WB)has hailed Government for reforming the country’s public procurement system, despite the economic challenges the country is facing.

The country is making transformational changes by replacing the old public procurement framework with a modern system that is more efficient and transparent.

In a statement, the World Bank, which supported the procurement reform through a $2 million grant under the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund, said the reforms would go a long way in bringing development to the country.

The World Bank said the reforms were trend-setters for broader governance reforms in the country and can also be a model to follow by other countries in the region and beyond.

“It’s significant how Zimbabwe is succeeding in reforming its public procurement system while simultaneously facing multi-faceted challenges marked by a series of political, economic, and financial shocks.

“The adoption of the new procurement legal framework and the establishment of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), with a board of directors representing all regions in the country, with a majority of women representation, clearly demonstrate the cultural changes in institutional arrangements in Zimbabwe’s public sector,” said the World Bank.

The PRAZ board which replaced the State Procurement Board (SPB) was established to bring efficiency, with procurement reverting to accounting officers in their entities, in line with best practices the world over.

Specific accomplishments in modernising the public procurement system in Zimbabwe include the enactment of the new Public Procurement Act, the adoption of modern public procurement regulations that define the legal, institutional, and procedural framework, and the establishment of PRAZ and its board.

Other accomplishments also include the development and promulgation of Procurement Regulations, Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) and Guidelines and the development of training of trainers’ course materials.

“The public procurement reform programme, supported by a $2 million grant from the World Bank’s Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund, has made significant progress in advancing reforms through a variety of actions.

“It’s in this context that the Government of Zimbabwe has taken important steps to reform its public procurement system through a comprehensive and multi-faceted reform programme that should ultimately catalyse further development,” said the World Bank.

The old system, the World Bank added, was exposed to irregular payments and governance issues in connection with the awarding of public contracts, favouritism of Government officials and diverting of public funds for other purposes.

source:the herald

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