Columnists

Corporate governance in procurement

EDGAR Chibuta.

Analysis: EDGAR CHIBUTA
THE great George Santayana once said that the wisest mind has something yet to learn while the great philosopher Socrates is on record as having lamented that life unexamined is not worth living.My article this week is partly drawing inspiration I have attained from these two great souls who evidently saw farther than most men by standing on the shoulders of the giants.
For the last nine years, I have focused my attention on possessing great legal insight on the Public Procurement Act (2008) as well as the Public Procurement Regulation and how the duo legal documents contribute to corporate governance.
Mclaughin S (2011) sees corporate governance as not a legal term but a label or a term or tool we can employ to respond to questions in respect to how, by whom and to what end corporate decisions must be taken.
Insight on corporate governance in respect to procurement is therefore sacrosanct a matter because money need be accounted for and value need to be felt or even seen for the benefit of the masses
While appreciating that we can buy out time to amend some sections of the principal Public Procurement Act (2008) let me hasten to say that this law is a master piece legislation that objectively promotes corporate governance in procurement of goods and services.
Many people, including myself, have hinted on several occasions that Section 7 of the cited law be maintained but the post of director general of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) be elevated to the post or position of controlling officer because ZPPA regulates and formulates procurement policies and therefore gives professional direction to procurement entities throughout Zambia, which are in their respective capacity headed by controlling officers.
It is therefore prudent to say that since ZPPA controls the operations of all the controlling officers from procuring entities, the authority must be headed by a controlling officer.
I have personally admired and thanked the systematic way of fighting corruption by Government as evidenced by the elevation of the position of the Accountant General to that of a controlling officer and it is therefore my hope and trust that the same will be done to the position of director-general of ZPPA considering the facts many people have previously highlighted
The PPA is therefore a very sharp tool that can be employed to objectively foster corporate governance in the supply chain system and subsequently add value to what is intended to benefit the general public or an organisation.
Clear leadership guidelines are given out and well-articulated in the cited Act of Parliament and one such is that which dictates what constitutes the procurement committee at any level a procurement entity can be conceived.
Instead of disputing the outcomes of the tendering process in the media or on Facebook, under section 53 and 56 a procuring entity is mandated to prepare a notice indicating the best evaluated bidder and for a period of ten working days no contract will be enforced.
The key issue here is for anyone to or even any bidder to present convincing and best grounds why the procuring entity must not go ahead and award the contract(s) to the best evaluated bidder(s).
Zambia has therefore gone in the right direction and the Government needs to be commended for giving an hint that it intends to present to Parliament a bill that will culminate into a piece of legislation to foster freedom of information.
This is for sure a step in the right direction as it will give credence to the systematic fight against corruption as the case is in the United Kingdom in regard to the Freedom of Information Act (2000) and will also add more legal fireworks to Section 56 and Section 53 of the PPA (2008).
I am however alive to the fact that even in the United Kingdom, it is not all the information requested by a person that can be disclosed and that must be made clear to the public from the outset.
The Enron debacle opened the door for the formulation of pieces of legislation targeted at stumping out corruption and promoting good corporate governance practices and as we entered the millennium we were greeted by that corporate scandal and bug that led to the collapse of the Enron Company and being alive to that fact, the Government was intelligent enough to craft the PPA so as to promote corporate governance in our profession. We need to seriously follow the legal dictates of the law and advance the much needed development to the general public.
The author is Purchasing and Supplies Assistant Chavuma District Education Board North-Western Province.




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