Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, last week told a national stakeholders’ consultative conference that public procurement has a crucial role to play in supporting government policies and development objectives.
Speaking at the annual conference that was organised by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) the Finance Minister said it was important for public procurement to be used to promote industrial, social and environmental policy objectives.
He called on stakeholders to reflect on the role of public procurement in the context of overall efficiency, fairness, transparency, accountability, value for money whilst ensuring the effective implementation of government socio-economic policy objectives.
Matambo said governments and businesses the world over are increasingly emphasising the need to reduce costs, better manage supplier relationships, make timely decisions and establish more efficient procurement processes. “For Botswana, public procurement is particularly important because the business community depends on government to buy goods and services from them,” Matambo said, adding that a significant part of the development budget is spent through the public procurement system.
He said the reform of public procurement and asset disposal was an ongoing process that has to incorporate new developments both locally and internationally, adding that the system requires enhancement for it to remain relevant and to respond to emerging needs especially during the post recession era where every Pula should be stretched to provide more value to the nation.
Matambo said unnecessary transaction costs associated with the procurement system needed to be identified and addressed, adding that the prudent management and oversight of public procurement and asset disposal was key in fostering good governance in any country.
He said his ministry was keen to ensure that there were appropriate structures and skilled people in place at all levels to facilitate sound procurement transactions for quality services to reach the intended beneficiaries on time. He said capacity constraints in the procurement and overall delivery system may compromise value, hence the need for such issues to be discussed during the conference.
The executive chairperson of PPADB, Bridget John said PPADB has come of age, hence its conduct and operations should reflect those of a growing and maturing institution. “We no longer have the luxury of hiding behind the excuse that PPADB is a new organisation experiencing teething problems,” John said and added that PPADB needed to learn from its decade-long experience and that of others to confront its challenges head-on.
The event was celebrated under the theme: A decade of transforming public procurement in Botswana.