According to Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya, President Hakainde Hichilema has begun reforming the country’s public procurement.
And Mr Bwalya emphasises that the recent Auditor General’s Report revelations on the previous regime’s non-compliance with procurement procedures irritated the Head of State.
Speaking to the press at State House, Mr Bwalya stated that President Hichilema has directed that all Government procurement agencies follow Circular Number 4 of 2021 issued by the Cabinet Office on the procurement of goods and services, threatening those who do not follow the guidelines with consequences.
“The President’s long standing view is that in order for us to expand and expedite the delivery of social and economic dividends for the Zambian people, we must eliminate the feud of public procurement feud. To this effect, the President has provided guidance and leadership on this matter and this leadership and guidance stands and follows: that all public procurement of goods and services and roads must be applied for and meet these three basic requirements: 1, the right price; 2, value for money and 3, quality and timely delivery of these public goods and services. To this effect, Cabinet office has since issued Circular Number of 2021 which compels all Government Procurement Agencies to comply with the above guidelines,” he said.
He stated that the President was worried that wasteful expenditure of public resources and the rise in the failure by Government procurement Agencies in the past 3 years was robbing the general citizenry of services such as clean drinking water, education facilities, health care and job opportunities.
“From the Auditor General’s Report for 31st December, 2020, two (2) issues stand out: number one, the failure to follow tender procedures-this has spiked from K524, 500 in 2019 to a figure of K234, 700, 094 on 2020. Number 2: Wasteful expenditure has risen from a figure of K3, 730, 964 in 2019 to K1, 407, 521, 520 by 2021. The country aims incidentally the Zambian people are losing money and opportunities for jobs; public health care; education and sanitation among several others,” he charged.
He warned that the President would not sit and watch while public servants continued to rob marginalised Zambians of a better future, charging that there would be consequences to those who would be found wanting.
“There will be consequences as far as abrogation of Circular Number 4 issued by Cabinet office. Further to that the ZPPA through the Auditor General has also been guided to expedite the completion of the price benchmarking of tender in line with Section 45 (2) of the Public Procurement Act. That they also must publish on a quarterly basis the price of tenders in line with Section 12 (2) and Subsection 3 of the Public Procurement Act. Now…let me emphasize that the President means business on the need to reform how public procurement works. Those who will disregard the President’s guidance on the need for reform of public procurement should work in this country…I must mention that there will be consequences as as been outlined in Circular Number 4 of 2021 issued by Cabinet Office,” he charged.
Meanwhile, COVID Advisor to the President Hichilema, Dr Roma Chilengi stressed that the impending 4th wave of the novel coronavirus that is anticipated.
“The President is clear that while we have a clear economic recovery plan. We need a large proportion of our population vaccinated as that is the only way to prevent further infections during the 4th wave of the coronavirus,” he charged.
He stated that it was, however imperative that citizens do not take the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions by the Ministry of Health last week as a leeway to start abrogating the COVID-19 golden rules such as social distancing, sanitizing, and regular handwashing.
“The lifting of some of the restrictions over the COVID-19 recently is a sign that the pandemic infections are going down. But that doesn’t mean that citizens should now relax the observation of the golden rules of the COVID-19
Dr Chiengi, who pointed out that the new Dawn Administration had set 10 percent of the country’s population in its first vaccination phase, has since appealed to Zambians from all walks of life to take the issue of vaccination against COVID-19 seriously.
And as a way of mitigating the impending 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Hichilema is tomorrow set to grace the relaunch of the coronavirus vaccination campaign at a venue to be announced.