‘Procurement officers, suppliers collude in fleecing government’

UNSCRUPULOUS procurement officers are allegedly colluding with suppliers and service providers to dupe the government through inflated Value Added Tax (VAT), it has been established.

According to Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Ashatu Kijaji, through the syndicate procurement officers and suppliers increase VAT to 24 from the official 18 per cent when signing agreements.

Dr Kijaji said here yesterday that the government has started investigating the matter to net all culprits behind the crime.

“The ministry has learnt about dishonest procurement officers who collude with service providers to overcharge public institutions by 24 per cent VAT instead of 18 per cent in supply of goods and services,” charged the deputy minister.

She was opening the ninth Procurement and Supplies Professionals and Technicians Board (PSPTB) Annual Conference that brings together procurement and supplies officers from across the country to discuss issues pertaining to procurement and supplies.

“The ministry is gathering evidences, the names of dishonest procurement and supplies officers as well as service and goods suppliers will be soon disclosed for action,” she observed.

She directed PSPTB to take stern measures against procurement and supplies officers implicated in the abuse of public procurement regulations as they seal agreements for good and service supplies.

“If possible, they (procurement and supplies professionals) should be removed from the registry of the board,” proposed Dr Kijaji. She implored the procurement and supplies professionals to adhere to professionalism as they execute their duties and disclose unqualified people who practice the profession.

The deputy minister said a recent performance report by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) showed that irregularities remain rampant in public procurement, especially in some public institutions. Quoting the report, Dr Kijaji said 13 out of 60 public institutions and 98 out of 3,763 projects, which were investigated, were found with traces of widespread corruption and irregularities in procurement and supplies.

PSPTB Chairperson Dr Helen Bandiho urged the government to appoint at least one qualified procurement person in the board of directors of various public institutions to technically advice the board on issues related to procurement.

“This will help public institutions to observe public procurement regulations while entering into agreements for supply of goods and service,” she said. Dr Bandiho observed further that the board of directors of public institutions should conduct quarterly evaluation on the plans they endorse and direct management to institute disciplinary measures in case of any irregularity in public procurement.

“Public Procurement Act gives mandate to the board of directors to take disciplinary steps against public servants involved in the violation of procurement regulations,” she said.

As for PSPTB Annual Conference, Dr Bandiho, said four topics would be presented during the meeting, naming the topics as Procurement Innovation: A fundamental tool for Tanzania Infrastructure Development Move and Impact of Emerging Information Technologies on Supply Chain Innovation.

She mentioned other topics as Procurement Development Move in Tanzania: Role of Procurement and Supplies Professionals and Enhancing e-Procurement for efficiency and effective service delivery.

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Author: LUDOVICK KAZOKA in Dodoma

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