Background and Introduction
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) intends to carry out a study a research study on Local Open Contracting for Local Authorities. The motivation to carry out this research emanates from ZELA’s long standing work on tracking recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) Reports to promote transparency in the management of public funds with a focus on the mining sector. The key findings in the 2018 report were the red flags raised by OAG in terms of contracts especially procurement contracts. One of the main issues raised was on procurement of goods that were never delivered which violates principles of the Public Financial Management Act (Chapter 22:19) (hereinafter PFM Act) which governs the operation of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
In Zimbabwe, the public procurement process is governed by the Procurement Act (22:14) as read with the Procurement Regulations Statutory Instrument 170 of 2002 regulations and rules, covering the making of procurement decisions. The laws and regulations stipulate how government officials must follow a set system for procurement. For example, how they advertise for suppliers, how to deal with suppliers and how to award contracts. The aim of such a system is to take advantage of competition between suppliers and to reduce the risk of corruption. However, there is reluctance in implementing provisions of the Procurement Act (Chapter 22:14) which governs PRAZ and this has led to loss of public revenues. The Procurement Regulations (Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002) is a key piece of legislation, which draws attention to the procurement cycle, the procurement methods and contract management.
The public procurement cycle must be transparent, just, accountable and responsiveness according to the core principles of good governance as expressed in Section 3 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The PFM Act has provisions for the control and management of public resources and the protection and recovery thereof; to provide for the appointment, powers and duties of the Accountant-General and of his or her staff; to provide for the national budget; to provide for the preparation of financial statements; to provide for the regulation and control of public entities. Given all these provisions in the law, challenges and risks brought out by the AOG should not continue to recur if the constitutional provisions are implemented at local and national level.
It follows that the mining sector which is the greatest revenue and foreign currency earner for the country has Zimbabwe’s largest contract deals which if managed well and properly could significantly contribute to national development. The sector has remained opaque despite the country’s reliance on mineral resources and its potential contribution to the economic recovery and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Key problems that that the country is facing in relation to the mining sector include; (1) Failure to implement government projects and initiatives on the public procurement process (2) the incapacities and challenges available for government to harness maximum revenue from the extraction of mineral extraction lack of meaningful mining revenue flow to local governments to improvise public service delivery (3) Mismanagement of public funds and public contracts causing loss of revenue as highlighted in audit reports. Those who have been hit hardest are the communities who are not deriving maximum benefit from the extraction of natural resources in their localities as enshrined in the constitution. According to Section 298 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, national expenditure must directed to the development of Zimbabwe; particularly to the communities from which mineral resources are being extracted.
In light of these challenges, civil society organisations (CSOs) working on transparency and accountability in the extractive sector need to recalibrate work and come up with strategies that will enable them to move forward working with national and local governments (local authorities) to promote social accountability in the use of revenue being generated from the mining sector. Despite the resource constrains that local authorities face, there is an opportunity for local authorities for make positive impact on access to services and rights of the marginalised if the little resources are spent in a transparent manner through open contracting. Open contracting presents an opportunity for local governments to make an impact out of the resources that generated from the extractives industry in the country.
Procurement is an essential component of local government expenditure in low – medium developed countries and local communities tends to benefit if there is disclosure and engagement throughout the entire chain of procurement including planning, tendering, awarding and implementation. Against this background ZELA intends to carry out a research with the main objective of investigating problems in the different stages of the operational procurement process in the Zimbabwean public sector that detract from service delivery, the extent of these problems and how the public procurement process can be improved to enhance service delivery. The research will focus on Mutoko and Manicaland Province.
Objectivities of the study (TORs)
To investigate the extent of the constraints at different stages of the operational procurement process in the Zimbabwean public sector that detract service delivery, and how the public procurement process can be improved to enhance service delivery.
The broad objectives of the consultancy are to:
- Review the existing legislation, policy and institutional frameworks for public sector procurement to determine how they promote open contracting benchmarked against good international practices.
- Identify and analyse the challenges that need attention in the stakeholders contracting processes benchmarked with open contracting.
- Come up with recommendations to enhance capacity of primary stakeholders (private sector, business, government and CSOs) through a process of “learning by doing” to incorporate open contracting considerations in planning and in decision making to improvise transparency.
- Production of an Open Contacting Research Paper.
- The Consultant is expected to compile electronically at least Five documents that will serve to enhance the knowledge base for open contracting opportunities and challenges in Zimbabwe.
Individuals or institutional applications are accepted with a legal background and or public policy governance or any relevant field. Applicant must also have experience on open contracting, public financial management and procurement in the extractive sector. Interested individuals or organizations to email their Expression of Interest (EOI) clearly stating the title of the consultancy on the email subject title to email@example.com not later than 22/07/2020 with a must include list of traceable references of three (3) reputable companies/organizations.
Deadline: 22 July 2020