THE NEW PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAW IS NOT PANACEA TO PROCUREMENT WOES

Image

Tanzania has a comprehensive body of laws, regulations and oversight agencies intended to prevent, investigate and sanction corrupt practices. The legislation should be adequate to deal with corrupt activities at all levels.

Much of the current anti-corruption efforts can be traced back to 1996, when former President Benjamin W. Mkapa created the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Against Corruption (the Warioba Commission).

The Warioba Commission produced the Warioba Report, which identified areas where corruption occurs and revealed mechanisms in the society that generate corruption. Today it is regarded as one of the most profound analyses of corruption by any African state and has helped to open up public discussion on corruption.

The government’s practical response to both the Warioba Report and the ensuing public debates on corruption was to launch the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2005 (NACSAP I) in 1999. It was mandated to a) carry out relevant institutional reforms to eradicate corruption, b) implement a public awareness campaign against corruption, and c) bring together stakeholders working on rooting-out corruption in Tanzania.

The NACSAP led to the establishment of a number of anti-corruption bodies, including the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau, the Ethics Inspectorate Department and a strengthened Controller and Auditor General.

In December 2006, the NACSAP-II was launched for the period up to 2011. The aim of this second phase of the NACSAP was to include local government authorities, civil society and the private sector under the national anti-corruption strategy.

A Triangulation Partnership Programme (NATPP) was established in 2005, aiming to coordinate joint supportive efforts of civil society, government and the private sector directed towards the NACSAP. The government also participated in a pilot programme to test methodologies for the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) implementation review.

With all that in place a procurement audit report published by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) that covers 315 out of 393 procuring entities, shows that 18 entities, that include the ailing Air Tanzania and the High Court of Tanzania, performed extremely poor with a compliance level below 50 percent.

The report published on December (2011) came as a shock to the public as the audit covered projects with a fiscal value of 4.52 trillion which is equivalent to 38.9 percent of the whole government budget of 11.61 trillion for 2010/11 financial year!

It would be recalled that on July 9th 2009, the Tanzanian leader, President Jakaya Kikwete, lamented that over 33percent of government budget gets into the pockets of unscrupulous public officials and their accomplices through dubious public procurement deals.

The question is where did heads of such procurement entities get the audacity of disobeying cornerstone rules of good governance as embedded in the Public Procurement Act of 2004?

Perhaps what is more shocking is that not a single civil servant involved in the foregoing rot has either had administrative action taken against him or taken before the court!

Taking Arusha as a case study last year the Arusha city council employees were suspected to graft estimated to reach 1.3 billion shillings, which came from the provision of various contracts with the department heads believed to cooperate with some of the servants of the lower income subvert, the council together with the company’s revenue collection agency.

19 employees who were implicated in the allegations, in amazing decision the government only managed to  transfer them to other regions.

As the Warioba Report made clear, it is the failure to enforce these rules, or the willful circumvention of them, and the weakness of the institutions set up to deal with corruption, that is responsible for the current situation.

According to PPRA  report the audit was conducted on a total of 142,396 contracts that included 103,187 for goods (72.5%), 6,863 for works (4.8%), 1,336 for consultancy services (0.9%), 30,914 for non-consultancy services (21.7%) and 96 for disposal of assets by tender (0.1%).

Although works contracts attained a mere 4.8 percent of all contracts, they however, consumed a bigger chunk of public funds amounting to 2.72 trillion, almost 60 percent of the value of the awarded contracts.

In a country that strives at empowering its Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it is surprising to note that although the bulk of contracts went to local firms (83.4%), followed by foreign firms (16%) and joint ventures (0.3%).

However, in terms of fiscal value of the contracts, the reverse is true as foreign firms consumed 62.5 percent of the money, leaving a mere 37.2 percent to the much touted local firms and 0.3 percent to joint ventures.

Procuring entities under local government authorities (LGA), unlike those from ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) and public authorities (PA) were ranked first in non-compliance.

Other factors cited as the cause of non-compliance, engineers and technicians, especially from local government authorities conspired with contractors to certify payments for non-existing or lower specifications. 

Local government authorities with proven overpayment contrary to the law included; Bahi District Council which paid M/s MBESSO Construction Co. Ltd and M/s Musons Engineers Ltd overpayment of 15.48 million. Geita District Council paid M/s Satelite Co. Ltd, M/s Icon Engineers and M/s Josam & Co. Ltd overpayment of 127.2 Magu District Council paid Man-Pa Co. Ltd overpayment of 24.4 million. Mvomera District Council paid M/s Tengo Construction Ltd overpayment of 53.19 million and Sengerema District Council paid M/s Nyegezei JJ Co. Ltd and M/s F.I.C. Ltd. 18.57 million.

In a nutshell, the audit report has shown that corruption, fraud and incapacity are some of the greatest constraints for achieving value for money in public procurement.

Indeed, if half of the budget can be fluffed by civil servants through procurement activities, what will be left of the Tanzania’s socio-economic development?

And as already noted, no punitive measures have so far been taken by the government in power against the culprits, meaning that they will continue to do what they have for years been doing, namely lining up their pockets with hard-earned tax payers’ money, is there any way this country can forge ahead, economically?

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Advertisements

One thought on “THE NEW PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAW IS NOT PANACEA TO PROCUREMENT WOES

  1. Hiya! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the great information youve got right here on this
    post. I will likely be coming back to your blog for more soon.

Comments are closed.