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AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) head of mission Oliver Pinzi (left) with Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba when the duo signed an aide-memoire between Government and AfDB mission on the preparation for the banks’ annual general meeting in Lusaka on Monday. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

Procurement should be above board

ZAMBIA will this year host two high-profile international conferences that will put the country on the world map as well as boost tourism.
Zambia will first host the 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly from March 18 to 23.
Two months later, Zambia will in May stage the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings which will create an opportunity for the country to showcase its investment potential.
The IPU Assembly will bring in about 1,600 delegates from 166 countries around the globe while over 2,000 delegates are expected for the AfDB annual meetings which Zambia will host for the first time.
Both the IPU and AfDB meetings will be high-level as they will attract political leaders, Speakers of the National Assemblies, members of Parliament, staff from parliaments, central bank governors, finance ministers, media, academicians  and representatives of civil society organisations around the world as well as from African and non-African countries.
Both events will be an opportunity to show the world what Zambia has to offer in terms of tourism and also products manufactured in Zambia.
These international conferences are undoubtedly expected to boost development of tourism, one of the country’s alternatives for economic diversification.
Coincidentally, both events will be held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka for which plans for renovations are in place in order to meet international standards.
The back-to-back conferences present a unique opportunity for Zambia.
We, therefore, urge the committees overseeing preparations for the IPU and the AfDB congresses to adhere to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) guidelines and financial regulations in the procurement of goods and services as advised by Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba.
Mr Yamba issued the advice in Lusaka on Monday during the signing of an aide-memoire between Government and the AfDB mission, which is in the country to check on progress for the bank’s annual meetings.
Mr Yamba said there is need to adhere to the law in the procurement process because it involves public funds.
“We need to adhere to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority as well as financial regulations. We must do our work within the confines of the law but in a timely and diligent manner,” Mr Yamba said.
We agree with Mr Yamba on the need to adhere to ZPPA guidelines and financial regulations regarding the procurement of goods and services required for the successful hosting of the AfDB annual meetings.
The same applies to the IPU assembly.
Fortunately, most of the materials, for instance, needed for the renovations of Mulungushi International Conference Centre will be supplied locally.
Priorities for the hosting of both the IPU and AfDB meetings are the technicalities and logistics of conference organisation: communication equipment, budgeting, interpretation, conference centre design, standards, and the like.
Officers tasked with procurement are expected to be ethical by being fair, open, transparent and professional.
All those involved in the procurement process should at all costs abide by the ZPPA guidelines and financial regulations.
There should be effective sourcing and contract management to deliver value for money goods and services.
Beyond the conferences and tourism, Zambia will also be exhibiting procurement acumen which will not be on display but will be visible everywhere.