PPADB Chairperson Bridget John says particular attention should be paid to the vetting of Invitation To Tenders (ITTs) to ensure that specifications are thorough and without bias. Speaking on Wednesday during the Ministerial Tender Committees workshop in Gaborone, John said it has to be ensured that evaluation and basis of award are made clear and also that socio-economic policies of government are factored in tender documents. “These include the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and the Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy,” she said while insisting that tender documents which disregard these policies should be declared invalid. According to the PPADB chairperson, in procurement there are often conflicting interests, hence principles of accountability, fairness, equitable treatment of contractors and transparency should be upheld at all times. ‘MTC members should never allow themselves to be pressurised or subjected to any undue influence from any source,” she said. John has also encouraged procurement personnel and MTC members to consider taking up part time procurement training to enhance their skills in their line of duty.
In an effort to promote openness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in public procurement, PPADB has introduced a number of developments such as revision of compliance and tendering requirements to improve the responsiveness of tenders so as to avoid disqualifying bids at administrative compliance stage.
In addition, the board has put in place disclosure of Pre-Tenders to promote fairness and transparency in the building process and automation of PPADB operations through the integrated Procurement Management System which was launched recently. Effective 1st of May this year, John said the board reviewed financial threshold of all its committees to allow them better serve their procuring entities. “These financials thresholds were determined after assessing the performance, capacity of committees, and nature of their procurement,” she said, without stating how much the financials have been adjusted.
She said the MTCs should therefore do their work with care and diligence and instill public confidence by ensuring that the procurement they handle is transparent and that opportunities are availed to capable contractors by running open tenders to avoid overreliance on direct appointments and selective tenders.
“We often hear allegations that tenders are reserved for certain individuals and companies with links to influential people. Such allegations should remain baseless as any Motswana or company that meets tender requirements is entitled to be awarded the tender irrespective of the association, grouping, background or status in life.” She said those who fall short of meeting the requirements need to be debriefed on their weakness so that they may address the gaps and perform better in future tenders.