PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has asked purchasing officers to save the face of leaders by explaining the procurement process. He said the Republican President and his ministers do not sit on tender committees. In a speech read on his behalf by works and supply minister Mutotwa Kafwaya at the 7th National Conference of the Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supplies at Avani Hotel yesterday, President Lungu said the country was losing a lot of money due to poor contract administration.
He urged purchasing officers to ensure transparency and openness to the general public in the manner contracts were awarded.
President Lungu bemoaned the failure by parastatals to implement effective contract management.
“Some sections of society have from time-to-time accused us of influencing the process of awarding contracts. Have you ever seen the President of the Republic of Zambia and his ministers sitting on the tender awarding committee?” President Lungu asked.
“Please, save the face of your leaders and come out in the open and explain the procurement process and the stakeholders involved in the awarding of contracts. Once the procurement process is explained, people will come to appreciate that procurement is conducted independently without the involvement of politicians. You have the ZPPA Act number 12 of 2008 which guides you on how the procurement process must be conducted. I don’t think it involves the Republican President and ministers in the execution of the procurement process.”
President Lungu said purchasing officers were mandated to provide oversight in management of contracts.
“The 2017 Auditor General’s report on parastatals has just been released. One of the emphasis in the report is the failure of implementing effective contract management,” President Lungu noted. “You are aware that when a contract is awarded, there must be a corresponding responsibility of ensuring that a contract manager is appointed.”
He told the meeting that purchasing officers were the ones who should provide professional guidance to ensure that various clauses in contracts were followed.
“My main area of concern surrounds shoddy works done by some contractors, contractors abandoning projects and late completion of projects. I therefore, urge you to sharpen your skills on contract management. The country is losing a lot of money due to poor contract administration and this is unacceptable,” President Lungu said.
He said his government was ready to listen to speculations about how some contracts were awarded.