By-There is an outcry in the country from all stakeholders after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the procurement details of public health assets.
Mnangagwa said assets that include construction materials, biomedical equipment, pharmaceuticals, vehicles and hospital equipment, among other health-related goods, will not be disclosed in the “national interest”.
According to General Notice 635 of 2023, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said the declaration is in line with section 3(6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23]. Reads the General Notice in part:
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC ASSETS ACT [CHAPTER 22:23]
Special Procurements in the Public Interest: Health Sector
It is hereby notified that the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has, in terms of section 3(6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23], declared the following to be of national interest and shall not be publicly disclosed-
(1) construction equipment and materials;
(2) biomedical and medical equipment;
(3) medicines and drugs (pharmaceuticals);
(4) vehicles, including ambulances;
(5) laboratory equipment, chemicals and accessories;
(6) hospital protective equipment; and
(7) repairs and maintenance services of hospital equipment and machinery.
The declaration has, however, raised concern among citizens as it will likely promote corruption among senior Government officials since public procurement deals involving the above-mentioned goods will not be disclosed to members of the public.
Commenting on the General Notice, Harare lawyer Fadzayi Mahere, who is the opposition Citizens’ Coalition Change (CCC) spokesperson, said:
Why must procurement details of construction materials, biomedical equipment, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, or hospital equipment be hidden?
Why does the Govt hate transparency? Whose interests are being protected? Why create this massive scope for looting?
It is important to note that public procurement in Zimbabwe is governed by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act of 2017.
The Act provides for the regulation, control and monitoring of public procurement processes to ensure that they are transparent, fair, competitive, cost-effective and in accordance with the law.