By Alois Vinga
PARLIAMENT has come under fire for approving a questionable tender pegging the price of a single laptop at US$9 264, and another one placing US$3 075 per desktop computer in a development which has forced Treasury to
immediately turn down the suppliers.
The move comes as the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) have upped the gear in weeding out unruly elements, placed at the top levels of the government from carrying out bad purchasing practices, which
triggers inflationary pressures in the economy.
The new trajectory was implemented upon realisation that government departments were conniving with suppliers, who peg prices at rates which anticipate the depreciation of the local currency. This practice in turn, has been blamed for causing the deterioration of the Zim$ and uncontrollable inflation.
Considering Parliament’s constitutional oversight role on the government’s conduct, the question once posed by the late Indian Judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer in the year 1980 remains unanswered in the latest scenario.
In a letter dated September 14, 2022 addressed to the Clerk of Parliament by Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary, George Guvamatanga, the august House was rapped for its conduct.
“It has come to our attention that Parliament of Zimbabwe had awarded a tender for the supply and delivery of laptops to Binart Investments P/L 173 laptops US$1 602 755,77 and Mid End Computers and Hardware 79 Desktops US$243 052,36
“These US$ prices have been exorbitantly way beyond those that are prevailing in the market and hence are not acceptable,” he said in the letter.
The Treasury boss said notwithstanding the high prices, the tender award was in complete disregard of its minutes dated August 3, 2022, directing line ministries to ensure value for money for government and hence, to rationalise the procurement processes within the confines of the “willing buyer, willing seller” foreign exchange rate.
“In this regard and to ensure value for money for the government, in line with the Public Finance Management Act, which empowers treasury to manage and control public resources, treasury directs that this tender be cancelled and the concerned suppliers be blacklisted from any future procurement processes,” Guvamatanga said.