The government intends to turn the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) into a regulatory authority and remove it from participating in adjudication and award of tenders.
Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, told Parliament last week that his ministry was considering proposals from PPADB to review the PPAD Act to come up with clear roles. The roles, he said, would ensure that PPADB assumes a proper regulatory role whilst the adjudication and award of tenders was left to the procuring entities.
“It should however be noted that procuring entities need to be capacitated in terms of resources and training in order for them to assume full responsibility for adjudication and award of tenders,” Matambo added. According to him, the PPADB Act required amongst others, that the board and its committees comply with the confidentiality provisions of the Act.
He said the Act further required that all bid submissions and pre-qualification applications for registrations should remain confidential from the time they were received until a decision was made. “Such information can only be availed to the Independent Complaints Review Committee in the case of a complaint and to the Public oversight Agencies in the event of an investigation,” Matambo explained.He was responding to a Parliamentary question by Palapye Member of Parliament, Moiseraele Goya.
Goya had asked the Minister as to when the PPADB was going to stop being a player in the procuring process and assume proper regulatory oversight. Goya further asked the Minister what he was doing to ensure confidentiality of information and transparency of the procurement process at its various committees and who was responsible for the decisions of the Ministerial Tender committees (MTCs).
In further response, Minister Matambo told Goya and Parliament that all personnel of the MTCs and District Administration Tender committees who deal with procurement were made to sign confidentiality statements at the beginning of their engagement. He said confidentiality of information was therefore a statutory requirement for all members of the Board and its committees.
Matambo further explained that the PPADB was responsible for decisions of the MTCs in terms of section 50 of the PPAD Act, which empowers the Board to delegate its authority to its committees.“The PPAD Act clearly states that the Board shall remain responsible and accountable for all the decisions taken in respect of delegation.
The delegated authority is given to the committees of the Board within the set thresholds and when exercising such authority, the committees of the Board are carrying out the mandate of the Board, hence the Board remains accountable for such decisions,” Matambo stated.
He however added that this was one of the areas that were currently being considered as part of the review of the mandate of PPADB to become a regulatory authority. “When PPADB has been converted into a regulatory authority, Accounting Officers in Ministries will become responsible and accountable for decisions of their own Tender committees,” Matambo pointed out.