The World Bank, which supported the procurement reform through a $2 million grant under the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund through a variety of actions, said the reforms would go a long way in bringing development to the country and trend-setters for broader governance reforms in the country and that it can be a model to follow by other countries in the region and elsewhere.
Zimbabwe is excelling in reforming its public procurement system at the same time facing multi-faceted challenges marked by a series of political, economic, and financial tremors.
“The adoption of the new procurement legal framework and the establishment of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), with a board of directors representing all regions in the country, with a majority of women representation, clearly demonstrate the cultural changes in institutional arrangements in Zimbabwe’s public sector,” said the World Bank.
The PRAZ board which substituted the State Procurement Board (SPB) was established to bring efficiency, with procurement reverting to accounting officers in their entities, in line with best practices the world over.
Specific accomplishments in updating the public procurement system in Zimbabwe include the enactment of the new Public Procurement Act, the acceptance of latest public procurement regulations that define the legal, institutional, and procedural framework, and the establishment of PRAZ and its board.
“It’s in this setting that the Government of Zimbabwe has taken significant stages to reform its public procurement system through a comprehensive and multi-faceted reform program that should ultimately catalyze further development,” said the World Bank.
The old system, the World Bank added, was exposed to irregular payments and governance issues in connection with the awarding of public contracts, favoritism of Government officials and diverting of public funds for other purposes.