Vice-President Saulos Chilima has challenged procurement professionals in the country to promote professionalism to fight corruption and ensure that resources are used to develop the country.
Speaking yesterday when he opened the 11th Malawi Institute of Procurement and Supply (Mips) Annual Conference in Mangochi, the Vice-President stressed that professional procurement is a catalyst for national development, and there is need to promote such.
He said unprofessionalism leads to fraud and wastage of resources, adding that the country has been a victim of fraud and wastage of resources.
He called on the professionals in the field to get procurement right to fight corruption and wastage of resources. He said the professionals should be moved by their conscience in handling procurements.
He added that if procurement was properly done, government would thrive in various sectors.
Said Chilima: “Imagine how much savings government would realise if professionals like yourselves were to help put an end to this shameful act.
“Imagine how many beautiful roads and energy infrastructure, for instance, the country would have built by now with the trillions of kwacha that have been lost this way over the years.
“Imagine how these savings could translate to sustainable economic growth, employment creation, wealth creation and self-reliance of our economy going forward through the MW2063, the country’s development blue print,”
He added: “To put it bluntly, as a country, we need procurement specialists who are disciplined, ethical and corrupt free. Procurement professionals who are gatekeepers of our resources, and not conduits of fraud and corruption,” said Chilima.
Chilima, who described procurement professionals as people who can make-or-break the country, urged Mips to get every procurement officer registered and bring sanity in the industry.
He also assured of government support in ensuring professionalism in the industry, further calling on the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to expedite reforms that it is undertaking to bring sanity in procurement.
On his part, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said a big chunk of the National Budget is managed through the procurement system, and there is need to ensure best practices to protect resources.
Mips board chairperson David Ng’onamo also lamented that there are many unregistered persons who are handling procurement processes in both public and private sectors.
He said Mips is working to deal with the problem once and for all, “because non-professionals do not subscribe to any code of ethics”.
“Employers and employees alike need to be aware that if one is to practice as a procurement person, it requires that one be registered by Mips and should be a paid-up member.
“Any disregard for this legal requirement constitutes an offence, punishable under the Mips Act,” said Ng’onamo.
He called on professionals to adhere to ethical code of conduct in order to promote people’s trust in the profession, adding that the public sector should lead by example.
Mips president Alinafe Malisawa stressed that procurements need to be carried out in line with applicable laws and policies, especially pertaining to issues of transparency, accountability, value for money, effectiveness and efficiency to ensure that procurements contribute to the economic development and growth of the country.
Currently, there are several cases in court bordering on malpractices in procurement.
This year’s theme was ‘Strategic Procurement and Supply Chain Management: Tool for attainment of Malawi’s Economic Development and Growth’.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Kenya’s Professor PLO Lumumba.
—Additional reporting by Ayamba Kandodo.