DODOMA: ALL ministries and public institutions are legally bound to use the National e-Procurement System of Tanzania (NeST) effective from tomorrow in efforts to attain value for money and control loss of government funds.
Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Eliakim Maswi said this on Friday when handing over the Annual Performance Evaluation Report for 2022/2023 financial year to Finance Deputy Minister Hamad Chande.
He cautioned that legal action will be taken against any procurement entities which will not abide by the law.
“The use of NeST is a must, with the new public procurement law, there is no option of shying away from the system since it facilitates e-registration, e-tendering, e-contract management, e-payment, e-catalogue and e-auction,” Mr Maswi insisted.
Deputy Minister Chande promised to take disciplinary and legal measures against procurement officials who embezzled public funds and violated the procurement procedures.
He directed the Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to work on the 2022/23 financial report and take proper action.
The Deputy Minister underscored the need for diligence, accountability and transparency among public servants in charge of procurement for the government to attain value for money.
“Procurement entities must use NeST and those which are reluctant will be held accountable as stipulated by the law,” he insisted.
He commended PPRA for coming up with the NeST as it will avert a number of financial losses the government was incurring due to embezzlement.
PPRA Board Chairperson, Dr Leonada Mwagike said during the period under review, the authority conducted procurement audits to 180 procurement entities consisting of ministries, departments and agencies, local government authorities and public authorities.
She said the findings show that 28 entities have satisfactory performance, while 108 attained average compliance and 43 with poor or unsatisfactory performance.
Of the 43 entities with poor performance, 28 were from local government authorities, eight from public authorities and seven are from ministries and independent departments.
“During the period under review, the authority also carried out a special procurement audit in 12 institutions and learnt that the government incurred a 8.77bn/- loss due to lack of efficiency, accountability, integrity and transparency,” said Dr Mwagike.
Moreover, she said during the special audit, PPRA saved 485bn/- from tenders which were to be given to unqualified bidders and 366.07bn/- for minor value pricing.
Other findings were weaknesses in procurement processes and contract implementation such as unfair competition in public procurement tenders worth 209.98bn/- and purchasing of items worth 5.07bn/- without demanding for EFD receipts.
The findings also have it that goods worth 661.68bn/- were procured with forged receipts.
PPRA have recommended disciplinary measures to be taken against public servants who were involved in the tenders and procurement process and called for more transparency for improved efficiency.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Finance and Planning Ministry (Economic Management), Mr Elijah Mwandumbya said NeST is an important tool in ensuring attainment of value for money in public procurement, a sector where 70 per cent of the government budget is spent.
“The building of this system in which already two modules, namely e-registration and e-contract are now operational, enable registration of users for provision of goods and services and in preparation of annual procurement plans up to awarding of contract,” he said.
The two modules are among the six needed for a fully e-procurement process, including e-contract management, e-catalogue, e-auction and e-payment.
According to him, NeST would increase efficiency, transparency and accountability on top of enabling the government to get genuine information from bidders as it is integrated with other government systems.
“Every step in the system reduces human interaction during the tendering process, thereby helping to ensure fair competition,” he said.