Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) has admitted to failure to take actions against nonperforming contractors who continue to bid and win government tenders, due to lapses in monitoring system caused by procuring entities.
PPADB Executive Chairperson, Brigette Poppy-John indicated in the organisation’s latest Annual Report (2017/18) that as PPADB continues to execute its mandate, one of the major challenges which persist is the non-submission of End of Activity Reports by Procuring Entities. Poppy-John contended that such failure constrains the monitoring of performance of contractors and the tracking delivery of awarded contracts as well as the effectiveness of the Suspension and Delisting Committee to discipline defaulting contractors.
“Furthermore, nonperforming contractors continue to bid for and win Government contracts, and often continue with their unacceptable performance and misconduct,” she noted. “The performance of DATCs (District Administration Tender Committees) in relation to compliance to the PPAD Act needs to improve particularly where there are no secretaries resulting in poor record keeping.”
The PPADB chief argued that the increasing devolution to Tender Committees necessitate enhanced capacity hence it is important for Procuring Entities to continue to resource the procurement function approximately with skilled personnel. Poppy-John has consistently spoken in favour of devolving powers to Ministerial Tender Committees (MTC) and District Administration Tender Committees (DATC) in tender adjudication.
â€¨Currently MTCs and DATCs deal with procurement of goods, services and works which are below P300 million in value. The MTC financial ceiling range from P25 million to P300 million while ceilings for DATCs range from P2 million to P10 million. “The intent is to increasingly devolve authority to Ministries and Districts for improved procurement performance. Challenges that come with the devolved mandate need to be acknowledged and addressed for improved procurement performance,” Poppy-John said earlier this year.
Poppy-John had argued that procuring entities should embrace sound procurement practises to deliver on their core functions because procurement can no longer be treated as a menial standalone task that is not a priority for those in leadership. â€¨However, as indicated in the Annual Reports, MTCs and DATCs are failing to rise to the occasion in dealing with issues that ensures efficiency and quality in the public procurement system.
“The conceptualisation, planning, and the contact management need to revive more attention at Procurement Entity level to address concerns of poor project implementation resulting in time and cost overruns which compromise quality,” Poppy-John noted in statement. â€¨Poppy-John indicated that the monitoring and enforcement of empowerment schemes such as Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE) need to improve particularly at contract implementation stage to allow for the assessment of the impact of the schemes.
PPADB Executive Directors has also indicated that her institution is operating under a limited budget despite increasing requirements. “There is need to revisit PPADB annual budget and align it with its mandate, strategy, and key activities, “she said. “The Board should continue to review its cost recovery initiatives to raise more money and lessen dependence on the Government’s subvention.
ADJUDICATION OF TENDERS FOR CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
According to the Annual Report, during the 2017/18 financial year, the Board adjudicated on 614 submissions. The figure represents a 6 percent increase when compared to the previous financial year when 579 submission were considered by the Board. The Board awarded tenders amounting to P1.9 billion compared to P6 billion in 2016/17 financial year, representing a 68 percent decrease. However, it is noted that the high value in 2016/17 was due to roads projects awarded under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
MTCs adjudicated on a total number of 5693 submissions during the period under review amounting to P5.4 billion compared to the previous financial year of 4074 submissions amounting to P5.43 billion. The DATCs adjudicated on a total number of 1645 of submissions amounting to P400.5 million as opposed to the previous year’s 1667 submissions totalling P398 million. PPADB was unable to have records for four of the 28 DATCs mainly owing to the absence of secretaries.
During the period under review, the Special Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (SPADC) adjudicated a total of 98 requests amounting to P3.6 billion compared to a total of 169 in 2016/17 financial year amounting to a total of P1.187 billion. The total value of procurement for PPADB and its Committees for the 2017/18 financial year amounted to P11.322 billion excluding micro procurement by Ministries, lower than the 2016/17 financial year figure of P13.075 billion. The value of tenders awarded through micro procurement for the 2017/18 financial year amounted to P402.6 million compared to P335 million in the 2016/17 financial year.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.