The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) is warning ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to provide annual procurement and disposal plans by July 31 2021, failing which they will not procure anything in the 2021-2022 financial year.
In an interview yesterday, PPDA acting director general Irene Mlewa explained that the gazetted PPDA Act Regulations last August have necessitated the issuance of the warning.
She said since the Act was operationalised in 2017, MDAs were required to submit their plans but there was poor compliance.
Mlewa said compliance rate as of last year was only 47 percent, meaning the majority of MDAs have not been complying with the PPDA Act’ provisions.
“We didn’t want to ambush them this time following gazetted regulations, but to remind them that this time we mean business. With new regulations in place, non-compliant MDAs will face the music,” she said.
Mlewa said MDAs will be able to meet the deadline because all the required procurement and disposal plans are already in their budgets in line with their strategic plans.
She said the submission of plans in advance will also prevent procurement of services outside the budget and that MDAs are also compelled by law to submit quarterly reports.
According to her, PPDA will only allow procurement outside plans on emergencies such as pandemics or disasters, among others, but not on usual things such as procurement of vehicles or personnel which is always planned during annual budgeting.
Section 39 (4) of the PPDA Act demands that prepared plans be submitted to the PPDA by the last date of the first month of the financial year and failure to do so shall amount to a misconduct punished by law as stipulated in Section 39 (3) of the same Act.
A statement the authority issued on Monday said the PPDA Act of 2017 mandates procuring and disposal entities (PDEs) to plan procurement and disposal proceedings with a view to realise maximum value from both public expenditure and disposal activities.
Reads the statement in part: “The PPDA strongly urges all PDEs to prepare and submit procurement and disposal plans by the stated date. If the PDE fails to prepare and submit the annual plan, then, impliedly, such a PDE shall be considered to have decided not to carry out any procurement and disposal activities in the 2021-2022 financial year.
“It should be expressly stated that the authority shall not process any request or submission for ‘No Objection’ or any approval made by a PDE that has not complied with the provisions of Section 39 of the PPDA Act”.
The statement warned that any PDE that does not comply with the law and still conducts procurement, such procurement activities shall automatically be rendered mis-procurement and appropriate punitive measures shall be imposed on the PDE as well as the controlling officer.
Over the years, government has been losing public funds through mis-procurement and the PPDA move, according to experts, will help mitigate the losses.
Procurement expert Arnold Chirwa, who retired as PPDA acting director in 2018, said the requirement that MDAs submit annual plans in advance to PPDA, which is the first of its kind, has been in the books for so long.
He described the move as part of fostering good governance in the procurement processes within MDAs.
Chirwa said: “This will inculcate a culture of transparency and accountability because when the procuring and disposal entities submit their plans to the PPDA, they will be published on the website for access to all interested stakeholders well in advance. It’s a practice world over so that information is shared well in advance”.
In the case of Malawi, Chirwa said suppliers will know and plan for the full financial year on specific procurement businesses to participate in.
He said the plans will also make it easier for the Treasury to plan well in advance on what specific business to fund in a financial year.
In terms of fostering good governance, Chirwa said it will be easier for boards in parastatals for instance, to know and plan in advance on what procurement approvals to anticipate.
“This will bring sanity in the procurement business, there will be no secret on procurement businesses where stakeholders wait for adverts in the media,” he said.