The Indigenous Black Business Network Northern Region Chapter says capacity building is critical for them to start reaping the benefits of the 60/40 government procurement law.
Section 44 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act stipulates that 60 percent of all contracts under the national competitive bidding should be awarded to indigenous black Malawians.
In an effort to change the status quo, some of the indigenous black businesses have grouped themselves and formed a network to share knowledge and build their capacity to bridge the information gap.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Saturday during a capacity building workshop on how to prepare successful bids, the group’s chairperson for the Northern Region, Elizabeth Nkhwazi, said they are equipping their members on how to prepare winning bids.
“If we are to reap the benefits of this law, we have to produce winning bids. One of the issues that has been hindering us is lack of knowledge in coming up with responsive bids,” she said.
On his part, procurement specialist Frank Newa said most indigenous black businesses lack knowledge in bid preparation; hence, they lose contracts.
“Most of them do not give out the information that is required by the procuring entities,” he said.
Newa said most businesses also lack good understanding of the provisions of the law that gives them opportunities to bid.
He said there is enthusiasm among most indigenous black businesses as evidenced by the initiative to work in groups and participate in procurement processes.
Public Procurement and Disposal of Asset Authority director general Elias Hausi is on record as having asked the small and medium enterprises to get organised and position themselves if they are to participate fully.
He admitted that there are complaints about corruption in procurement processes and that some procurement officers influence bids.