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Project managers demand efficiency at Praz

PROJECT managers have raised a red flag over the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz)’s lack of capacity to efficiently handle procurement processes.

They said the procurement industry was facing serious delays in project execution due to delays at Praz, whose operations were among topical issues that came under spotlight during deliberations at the Institute of Corporate Directors of Zimbabwe’s Tone on the Top Leadership Convention in Kariba.

Speaking to businessdigest on the sidelines of the conference, one of the experts, Newton Demba said the Praz process, which takes two to three weeks, is too long.

“We have had serious delays in project execution,” he said, noting that in the hyperinflationary environment, this was unsustainable. “The review process is taking up to two to three weeks to be completed. When bidders are asked to bid, they give you a price and they state what they call the validity period. This is to say the price is only valid for this long, for example 90 days. But we do have situations where procurement reviews take up to a time where a bid is about to lapse.

“A delay of up to three weeks for a profit-making company is very serious and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency” he said.

Demba added that besides delays, Praz lacked experts who understand various specialised fields. He said this made it difficult for it to review certain projects.

“In terms of skilling, we must have human resources that are multi-skilled. We must have engineers and good representation in every sector. How would you evaluate an engineering project if you are not an engineer? It (Praz) needs to have technocrats on subjects matter.

“We also do not want kids to be regulating us. We need people who have practised procurement over years and have enough expertise to come and regulate. There is also the issue to do with decentralisation. This must resonate well with the devolution strategy. If we are coming up with a devolution strategy, Praz should be decentralised,” Demba said.

He said registration at Praz should go beyond asking for mandatory documents but consider other technical issues to avoid briefcase companies.

Demba also touched on the composition of public entities’ boards, which he said should have procurement professionals.

He said by doing so, the firms would put the procurement reform agenda among the top most priorities.

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