HARARE – Zimbabwe must put all public projects bidding to open tender as shadowy processes are costing the country millions, industry experts have warned.
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe immediate past president George Guvamatanga last week said government had to re-look its position on awarding tenders for national projects as “unfit” bidders were getting strategic national contracts.
“It really does not matter which project is in play from power, road to water. We have been deliberately going for overpriced bidders and it is sad because this generation will not pay for those things, future generations will,” he said.
Guvamatanga, who is also Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managing director, noted that any government project — whether power, water or road — should go to open tender and be awarded to the best service providers with traceable records.
Prominent businesswoman Divine Ndhlukula said the increase in media reports on several national projects being awarded to “unfit” bidders was affecting the country’s international standing.
“We always come across reports in the papers with very important projects being granted to people without capacity at very high prices. How come nothing is being done about this? We have never heard of arrests or anything. The national tendering process is in shambles,” the Securico founder said.
Guvamatanga said from a banker’s point of view, government was mortgaging the future.
“I have done studies and ran numbers on projects done in this country and I have compared the water project by the City of Harare to that done for Tshwane City in South Africa and we have paid double what South Africa paid. This does not make sense,” Guvamatanga said.
Last year, President Robert Mugabe acknowledged flaws in the country’s procurement system, promising an overhaul of the State Procurement Board.
“A new procurement bill will be tabled in Parliament before the end of 2015. The new bill will incorporate Comesa procurement guidelines which include devolution of power,” he said then.
However, little has been done about the state of the procurement process in the country with recent reports indicating that the company that won a lucrative $2 billion contract for the construction of Zimbabwe’s most important highway is under a World Bank(WB) ban for tender rigging and fraud.
A local online news site on Monday reported that Chinese firm China Harbour Engineering Company, main contractor of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway dualisation project’ s parent was listed by the WB on a listing of firms that are ineligible for contracts that it finances.
Reports have also implicated senior government officials in flawed tendering.