The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) is still consulting other stakeholders on how to systematically effect some provisions in the new law which force government to buy a minimum of 60 percent of its procurement needs from black indigenous Malawians.
Mid last year, Parliament passed an insertion to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, along with other amendments of the Act, aimed at curbing corruption in the awarding of contracts.
PPDA’s Acting Director General, Arnold Chirwa, said in an interview yesterday that the authority is engaging the Solicitor General on the same.
“While we can understand the call from our stakeholders for its speedy implementation, these are matters of law and implementation can only happen after proper regulations/guidelines are in place,” Chirwa said.
He said for instance, there would be need for the government to establish the 60/40 threshold that would apply on the value or the number of contracts.
He said the Solicitor General has, since, advised the Authority to consult widely before developing the detailed procedures and also study other jurisdictions, where similar provisions are being enforced.
“We cannot rush to implement such provision before we do the needful. You might also wish to note that if crafted poorly, the regulations/detailed procedures would make the implementation difficult and the nation would turn into a laughing stock,” Chirwa said.
Chairperson of the Buy Malawi Strategy, Karl Chokotho, said that the private sector players were contented with the position which would help address potential challenges of misconceptions.
“Full implementation needs a visible transparent system. We recommend that we procure an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System and procurement system where all tenders can be managed and all interested parties can access at different stages of the tender process. This should ideally not leave room for corruption in its many forms, Chokotho said.
He added: “The Buy Malawi Strategy Executive have called upon all to move toward publishing monthly procurement details to confirm to the masses that the Buy Malawi Strategy is actually already working, because it is but costs for awareness remain a challenge”.
Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) President, Mike Mlombwa, wondered why it was taking forever to implement such as crucial piece of legislation.
“The economic future of the country depends on this legislation. If Malawi is to graduate from being a poor country to a wealth one, we need more wealthy Malawians.
“This can only happen if they easily do business with government which is the biggest buyer,” Mlombwa said.
Parliament repealed the Public Procurement Act (2003) and enacted the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act 2017 (PPD Act), which established the PPDA as a body responsible for the regulation, monitoring and oversight of public procurement and disposal of assets in Malawi.
Previously, the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) had limited enforcement powers and was only mandated to regulate and monitor procurement activities.