By Jackson Mapapayi
A civil society organization in Solwezi says the move by the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) to remove threshold for local authorities in terms of procurement is timely.
Kwatu Voice coordinator Oliver Chilefu said in an interview that the move will help and empower local authorities to expedite the implementation as well as the execution of projects and enhance service delivery.
“With increased funding and responsibilities to councils, the move will help councils implement projects at a faster speed without delay,” said Mr Chilefu.
Councils were in the past classified in a restricted category and the purchases by town clerks and council secretaries were supervised by provincial Permanent Secretaries and their provincial administration procurement committees.
However ZPPA has issued circular No 2 of 2022 that upgrades municipalities and councils to no longer require to submit any procurement to the provincial administration for procurement process.
The measure is aimed at enhancing delivery of goods, works and services under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Mr Chilefu said councils now have powers to determine what needs to be done at a faster rate.
He has however indicated that if no proper mechanism is put in place, the measure will create room for corruption.
Mr Chilefu said year in year out, most councils have been found wanting in the Auditor General’s reports in the misappropriation, abuse, misapplication and theft of public resources.
He attributed the vices to weak and porous procurement
process and entrenched corruption in the system.
“So, whilst we appreciate the measure, it must be accompanied by measures on how we can stop the shoddy deals that happen within the councils,” he said.
He has suggested the need to involve various stakeholders in the procurement process in order to avoid corruption.