Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) director general Elias Hausi says the planned implementation of the e-procurement will help to root out corruption in public procurement.
He said this on Saturday in Lilongwe on the sidelines of a capacity building workshop for indigenous black Malawian businessperson on how to prepare successful bids.
The workshop came against the backdrop of concerns by small-scale businesses who feel that big businesses use their financial muscle to to be awarded government business.
Hausi admitted that there are complaints about corruption in procurement processes and that some procurement officers do front other people to do business on their behalf and influence bids.
For the time being, he urged Malawians to use available PPDA platforms such as whistle-blower initiative to report all forms of corruption, including use of suggestion boxes.
Said Hausi: “Moving forward, we are going to have e-procurement and with it we are going to remove human interface.
“People will submit their bids online, the bids will be opened online without anyone intervening, they are going to be evaluated online and the same system will produce the results corrupt free.”
He explained that the development of the e-procurement system is at an advanced stage, which will be up and running towards the end of 2021.
Indigenous Black Malawian Businesspeople co-founder Kettie Kamwangala said the training was influenced by numerous failures that indigenous businesses are facing to breakthrough in bidding for available government business.
She said: “The government business cake is huge. Most Malawians are afraid to participate due to low bidding capacity. Therefore, we are working on sealing the gaps for the majority of us to succeed.
“Corruption is done in secret and most businesses have fallen prey to corruption to pay procurement officials to succeed which is bad because we all need to be on the same level playing field.”
On his part, procurement specialist Frank Newa said many small-scale businesses do not know how to prepare their bids thoroughly; hence, chances for them to win contracts are almost zero.
One of the participants Violet Savala described the training as crucial having failed several times to succeed in winning government tenders to supply goods and services.
A study by the Malawi Economic Justice Network found that about 70 percent of the national budget is spent on procurement.