United States (US) Charge d’ Affairs to Botswana Michael Murphy has said based on a recent World Bank report, the country should as consider paramount setting aside an annual budget of at least US$785 million(P7,065 billion) over a 10-year-timeframe for the acquisition of global standard infrastructure.
Murphy stressed that Botswana will need to understand how to obtain value through the procurement process of new highways, water treatment plants, information infrastructure, airport upgrades, dams and power plants.
Addressing participants to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony between the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) in Gaborone on March 5, the Charge d’ Affairs said, “The magnitude of these projects in terms of size, complexity and cost of acquisition, warrants that they should without fail, work when they are commissioned.”
PPADB Executive Chairperson Bridget John, who signed on behalf of PPADB, said the programme was “in line with the PPADB’s 2013-18 strategy of pursuing value for money in procurement.”
“The consequences of failure in the wake of current sustainable economic diversification efforts become too ghastly to contemplate. Because of Botswana’s short timeframe in which it must transform its economy, mistakes in large infrastructure projects will be disproportionately expensive and potentially catastrophic to the generations that will rely on them. Consequently, Botswana must become increasingly sophisticated when it makes investments of this nature.”
Murphy said as Botswana’s diamond revenues are projected to decline dramatically by the middle of the next decade, economic diversification efforts should (have) hit the ground running to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and carry the country towards the next developmental stage. USTDA Global Programs Director Andrea Lupo said the signing of MoU with PPADB formalizes partnership under the Global Procurement Initiative (GPI): Understanding Best Value (UBV).
Lupo said: “The MoU establishes PPADB as the official country partner under GPI, marking the beginning of what we hope to be a long and fruitful partnership, signifying commitment to promote transparency in public procurement and obtaining the best value for the Government and Batswana. USTDA is pleased with the partnership as PPADB has demonstrated commitment to achieving public procurement excellence standards, Africa’s shining example.”
This partnership will support the PPADB’s vision of becoming a public procurement and asset disposal centre for excellence in southern Africa by 2018 ensuring Botswana infrastructure’s ability to support the needs of its people and the growth of the country.
USTDA is a small independent US government with a unique dual mission to support a fair and open trade environment to increase global trade, provide funding for feasibility studies, training workshops and other early project planning assistance to support sustainable infrastructure development and economic growth in emerging markets.
The USTDA Director said procuring quality goods and services can make the difference between successful project implementation and overall development and failed outcomes.
“By incorporating value into procurement mechanisms, it will encourage greater competition and give project sponsors more choices. This is why USTDA decided to launch GPI: UBV in 2014.”
The MOU signed at the conclusion of the first round of specialized training for procurement officials from the PPADB and nine Ministries, represents the first activity undertaken as part of the new partnership.
USTDA worked with its globally recognized GPI partner, the George Washington University Law School’s Government Procurement Law Program, to develop a three-day intensive training in Gaborone for 37 public procurement officials.
The training was designed to strengthen the capacity of procurement officials in the areas of tender specification and design, best-value determinations, contract management, risk mitigation, and complaint review mechanisms.
Further activities include more intensive follow-on training in the US for selected officials from Botswana in order to continue cooperation.