The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose fragile governance processes characterised by limited checks and balances in Zimbabwe. The pandemic has further amplified the extent and effects of public finance leakages due to corruption in public procurement. The main piece of legislation regulating public procurement in Zimbabwe, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] defines public procurement as the acquisition by any means of goods, construction works or services. Public sector procurement is one of the most significant economic activity by the government, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) positing that on average government procurement accounts for at least 10-15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the global economy. In the context of Zimbabwe, the media has been awash with exposes of opaque public procurement contracts that have been entered into between State Owned Enterprises/ the government, and private players. Public procurement processes remain at the centre of political debate and are characterized by complex dynamics of political/state capture, failure to adhere to procurement processes, weak accountability and enforcement institutions, and a continued culture of impunity. This has allowed for the continued leakages of public funds through skewed processes, despite having progressive legislative frameworks guiding public procurement. Due to the huge sums of money involved in public procurement there are often several interested parties with vested interests in ascertaining that the outcomes of public tenders are in their favour, and in most instances, these are politically exposed/connected persons. Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) is of the view that transparency in public procurement in Zimbabwe can be enhanced by adopting principles of beneficial ownership disclosure and beneficial ownership transparency. This weeks’ Weekend Digest seeks to unpack these two concepts as they relate to public procurement. For the full article kindly read the pdf document attached.
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Transparency and Accountability Corner