Matambo urges higher efficiency in public procurement
by Kabelo Seitshiro
It is important that public procurement be used to promote industrial, social and environmental policy objectives, including economic diversification and citizen economic empowerment.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, says there is need to reflect on the role of public procurement in the context of overall efficiency, fairness, transparency, accountability, value for money whilst ensuring the effective implementation of Government socio-economic policy objectives.
Officiating at the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board National stakeholders’ conference on Thursday, he said For Botswana, public procurement is particularly important because the business community depends on Government to buy goods and services from them.
“My Ministry is keen on ensuring that there are appropriate structures and skilled people in place at all levels to facilitate sound procurement transactions for quality services to reach the intended beneficiaries on time,” said Matambo.
Matambo noted that governments and businesses the world over are increasingly emphasizing the need to reduce costs, better manage supplier relationships, make timely decisions, and establish more efficient procurement processes that may help grow the economy or companies.
“This conference coincides with the celebration of PPADB’s tenth anniversary hence the need to revisit its mandate,” he said.
He added that it is also taking place at a time when his Ministry is reviewing National Development Plan 10 which provides an opportunity for the review of existing public procurement legislative framework to be aligned with overall aspirations of the nation in terms of creating prosperity for all Batswana by the year 2016.
“The reform of public procurement and asset disposal is an ongoing process that has to incorporate new developments, both locally and internationally,” he stated.
The World Bank Regional Procurement Manager, Africa Region, Krish Krishnakumar, is of the view that many development problems are the challenge of governance and political leadership. He added that competitiveness is constrained by restrictive business regulations that are difficult to remove because of vested interests.
Krishnakumar said that since the Bank’s procurement policy was first adopted, there have been many changes in the instruments that the Bank offers to promote development. He pointed out that at the start, only two sectors, transport and power, accounted for half of the Bank’s lending. He added that now the Bank has a major role in supporting water supply, agriculture, education, health, social protection, community development, and public sector management, as well as infrastructure.
“Incorporate innovations such as value for money and best fit for purpose as well as increasing flexibility, focusing on implementation is the best way to go,” he stated.
He revealed that many countries are keen to adopt new tools and e-procurement platforms to take advantage of the gains that can be realized in the large global market and from enhanced and faster processes. He further added that he Bank’s 120 borrowing member countries are diverse and, to varying degrees, are striving to reform their national procurement systems.
“Ratings of public sector capacity have been improving, most markedly for high- and upper-middle-income countries,” said Krishnakumar.