Analysis: EDGAR CHIBUTA
BENJAMIN Disraeli once said that cleanliness and order are never matters of instinct but of education and, like most great things, one is duty bound to cultivate a deep-rooted taste for them.
The coming of the year 2000 in the United States of America was shamelessly marked by the Enron Company debacle in which the investors lost gigantic sums of equities as a result of white collar crime on account of lack of adherence to corporate governance principles.
Back home in Zambia, the fight against corruption has been escalated anchored on the decree of zero tolerance to corruption.
Its intensification has resulted in many high-profile people frequenting the courts on allegation of having plundered public funds.
The enactment of the Public Procurement Act (2008) excited some of us as it brought to light that the faculty of procuring goods and services is receiving the attention it deserves.
This in its own right marked the beginning of the long walk to freedom in respect to the prudent procurement reforms in Zambia.
Hearing Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS) president Chibwe Mwelwa speak with a lot of zeal and passion on the need to elevate the position of director-general of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) to the level of controlling officer (as the case is with the position of Accountant General) gave me a lot of hope that we are moving in the right direction.
The art and science of purchasing and supply chain management is giving constructive ideas to Government.
It therefore goes without saying that one cannot fight corruption without making necessary adjustments to the legal framework.
The position of Accountant General has been elevated to the position of controlling officer, a clear indication that Government attaches importance to the fight against corruption.
The ZIPS boss is therefore right to advocate the elevation of the position of the director-general at ZPPA to that of controlling officer as a way of systematically uprooting the cause of corruption in the procurement mainstream.
According to the PPA Act (2008) under section 7, the President is duty bound to appoint the DG of ZPPA (or the authority).
In line with Section 6 of the Act, ZPPA is duty bound to give professional direction to the procurement entities around the country in respect to the procurement of goods and services.
In line with Section 11 of the PPA, the composition of the procurement entity is in such a way that each of them is headed by a controlling officer. It makes sense to suggest the one at the helm of ZPPA must be a controlling officer so as to give direction to all those controlling officers in charge of their respective procurement entities
The reason for the proposal to elevate the position of DG at ZPPA is that colossal sums of money are expended in the procurement of goods and services for the benefit of the general populace.
Zambia has witnessed the successful implementation of a number of development projects such as the Link Zambia 8,000.
The successful conception and implementation of such projects is a clear indication that our country has the ability to successfully apply skills and competencies that foster good contract management as the case is in international competitive bidding where a lot of dynamics need to be borne in mind when implementing a project.
It is therefore clear that our PPA is a master piece creature of the law that is at hand to curtail Enron-like debacles.
I am also alive to the fact that ZIPS and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply are aware that purchasing and supply chain management is a living subject.
So, when a need arises to make amendments, we are duty-bound to respond accordingly so as to prove relevance to the general populace.
I hope Government will accordingly continue to give us the support as we continue to discharge our duties.
The author is a procurement officer for Chavuma district.
Analysis: EDGAR CHIBUTA