Political Interference Affecting Procurement Process

BY FOSTINA MKANDAWIRE

JANUARY 31, MANA: The Council For Non-governmental Organizations in Malawi (Congoma), has revealed that Political interference in implementation of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) affects the procurement process.

Findings from a baseline study on civic participation in public procurement, conducted by Congoma had elements of the interferences include imposition of contractors, handling project documentation and funds, and high visibility of politicians in deciding the nature of the projects usually on the basis of campaign.

Speaking during a press briefing on Thursday in Lilongwe during the dissemination of the findings, Executive Director for Congoma, Ronald Mtonga said the study was conducted in Rumphi, Lilongwe and Balaka Districts.

He said the findings show that most Members of Parliament manage CDF projects using their own constituency development committees making established local development structures crowded and redundant.

Mtonga said the purpose of the project was to prepare Civil Society for effective occupation of public procurement spaces for civic empowerment which will enhance transparency and accountability in public procurement processes by February 2020.

He said the results were accumulated through interface meetings with stakeholders and at national level, in the three districts.

Despite some negative outcomes, the study established some positive results such as Councils having adequate and up to date reference materials on public procurement and disposal of assets.

“There is compliance with laid down procurement rules and regulations by sourcing minimum three quotations, tendering among others, there is also competition among suppliers, contractors and other service providers on bidding and tendering for goods and services,” he said  

The Executive Director added that the outcomes from the study have facilitated the creation of platforms where rights holders and duty bearers interact on issues of public procurement and disposal of assets at district levels and national levels.

The study has recommended that the CDF concept including guidelines, rules and regulations should be revised for accountability.

He said there should be enhanced separation of powers between resource allocators like parliament, oversight institutions like Anti-Corruption Bureau and implementers like District councils in addition to eliminate conflict of interest.

Congoma conducted the study with financial support from Tilitonse Foundation, implementation of the project in February 2019 and is expected to phase out in February 2020. The project targets public procurements at district and national levels.

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