Highlights of Procurement Reforms

The Reforms in Public Procurement culminated in the drafting of a new Public Procurement Bill which was enacted into law, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Cap 22:23] in October 2017. The Act became operational starting 1 January 2018 through SI 152 of December 2018. The Procurement Regulations, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (General) Regulations, 2018 were gazetted through S.I. 5 of 2018 of 19 January, 2018.

Scope of the Act

The Act cover:-

  • All State Institutions at every level
  • all stages of the procurement cycle
  • all types of procurement

 Exclusions and exemptions to the Act

In terms of Section 3, the Act has the following exemptions and exclusions

  • any Zimbabwean obligation under or arising out of any convention, treaty or agreement between Zimbabwe and other foreign states or international financial organisations where the requirements of the convention, treaty or agreement shall prevail.
  • the procurement or acquisition of any of the following services—
    • fiscal agency or depositary services;
    • liquidation and management services for regulated financial institutions;
    • services related to the sale, redemption and distribution of public debt, including loans and Government bonds, notes and other securities; or
    • arbitration or conciliation services;
    • public employment contracts.
  • statutory tariffs in relation to a profession or service,
  • Procurement by Zimbabwean diplomatic or consular missions outside Zimbabwe (though they shall ensure that their procurement is conducted through a competitive process compliant with the general principles set out in the Act)
  • Declaration by the President by way of a notice in the Gazette where information about procurement or disposal of assets is not disclosed to the prejudice of the defence, security or national interests of Zimbabwe.
  • where Authority is granted by PRAZ to do so
  • The Minister, with the approval of the Authority and by notice in the Gazette may exempt any public asset from the application of Part XII of this Ac

Separation of Regulatory and Operational Functions

The Act creates a Public Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) which is a regulatory and oversight body responsible for setting standards, issuing guidelines and monitoring compliance. PRAZ will also ensure that public procurement and the disposal of public assets in Zimbabwe is done in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive;

The Authority is no longer involved in the adjudication and awarding of tenders like before.

Decentralization of procurement activities

  • The award of tenders will now be done by accounting officers in various State departments and companies, with the authority only playing a supervisory and monitoring role to ensure Government entities comply with the new Act and other set standards.
  • In terms of Section 14 (1), subject to thresholds, every PE shall be responsible for its procurement.
  • In terms of Section 15 of the Act, every PE shall be authorized to conduct procurement at or above prescribed thresholds.
  • In terms of Section 14(2), the Accounting Officer is responsible her procurement assisted by PMU.
  • In terms of Section 15, the Accounting Officer shall not conduct procurement before authorization

Organization of procurement in institutions

  • Procurement in Procuring Entities shall be managed by Procurement Management Units (PMU) who report directly to the Accounting Officers in terms of Section.

Professionalization & modernization of procurement

  • Procurement practitioners shall be regulated and made to abide by code of conduct, failure which will result in cancellation of practicing license.
  •  Electronic Government Procurement (E-GP) and use of framework agreements shall be provided for.

 Appeals procedures (Section 77 of the Act)

The Accounting Officer can now review own decision

  • A procuring entity may concede that it breached as alleged by bidder the in the challenge.
  • The Procuring entity will have 5 days to notify the bidder and the authority of its concession and take whatever necessary action to rectify the breach.

The Authority shall be the 1st level of appeal

  • The Authority may direct the Accounting Officer to rectify the breach.

 Review of Procurement Proceedings

 In terms of Section 74;

Application for review by a review panel can be adopted where:-

  • The Procuring Entity has not conceded that it breached a duty as alleged in a challenge.
  • Enforcement shall be through the Administrative Court

Penalties for violation of procurement laws

  • There are sanctions for staff of the procuring entities Section 12 of the Regulations.
  • There are sanctions for suppliers Section 73 &74 of the Regulations.

Responsibility of Procurement

  • In terms of Section 14 (1), subject to thresholds, every PE shall be responsible for its procurement
  • Every PE shall be authorized to conduct procurement and In terms of Section 14(2), the Accounting Officer is responsible for procurement and the PMU shall assist the Accounting Officer
  • In terms of Section 15, the Accounting Officer shall not conduct procurement at or above a given threshold before authorization.