By Ntombi Mhlongo
A suggestion has been made in Parliament that the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) should charge a service fee to the parastatals the entity does work for.
The suggestion was made during the debate on the budget for the Ministry of Finance. The mandate of the ESPPRA includes promoting measures that facilitate participation by local companies in public procurement and consider applications for deviations to public procurement processes, methods, and rules in accordance with section 6 of the Act.
The suggestion made in Parliament is premised on the fact that the government is currently devising strategies of ensuring that parastatals come up with their own revenue-generating initiatives and cut down on the heavy reliance on subventions.
Chairperson of the portfolio committee and Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo informed the Minister of Finance that instead of relying on a government subvention, the ESPPRA could survive through services charged on parastatals.
Khumalo said the services that the ESPPRA renders for parastatals were important and therefore should not come freely. The minister is expected to respond to the suggestion as he is yet to table all responses to queries and questions posed during the sitting.
The ESPPRA, which is currently under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Vusumutiwendvodza Matsebula, serves as an independent regulatory body with responsibility for policy regulation, oversight, professional development and information management, and dissemination in the field of public procurement.
Some of the agency’s functions include policy formulation, in pursuance of which the agency should advise government and procuring entities on procurement policy and all other matters relating to public procurement.
The agency must also report on the performance and functioning of the public procurement system and recommend changes.
It must also formulate regulations governing the procurement of goods and services for the government and recommend these to the minister.
The agency is also mandated to issue public procurement manuals, circulars, and instructions to provide guidance on the interpretation and application of this Act and public procurement regulations issued under same.
The agency also issues standard tender documents and other standard procurement documents whose use shall be mandatory in all procurement proceedings by procuring entities unless otherwise specified by the Agency.
ESPPRA has the mandate to promote measures to facilitate participation by Swazi companies in public procurement and consider applications for deviations to public procurement processes, methods, and rules in accordance with section 6 of the Act.
ESPPRA was officially established in May 2013, following the coming into force of the Public Procurement Act No. 7 of 2011 (the Act).