Hivos, a development aid organization is in a bid to help curb corruption in Zimbabwe by implementing open contracting which will make the entire contracting process more open and transparent.
Speaking yesterday during a Transparency and Accountability in Public Procurement Policies and Practices in Zimbabwe dialogue, Hivos Director – Regional Office for Southern Africa Tanja Lubbers said following efforts by the government of Zimbabwe to reform public procurement systems under a anti corruption drive Hivos sees a need to allow for expansion of transparency.
“With these latest developments, as Hivos we feel that key ingredients now exist to allow for an expansion if transparency and accountability portfolio in Zimbabwe by way of incorporating Open Contracting in the country.
“Open contracting is about making the entire contracting process more open and transparent, from the planning phase, to tendering,averaging and to implementation.
“Open contracting is an approach to improving public procurement through disclosure of open data, documents and information about the planning, procurement, and management of public contracts, participation and use of contracting data by non state actors, accountability and redress by government agencies or contractors acting on the feedback they receive from civil society and companies.” said Lubbers.
Open contracting has become a topical issue and has gained prime importance across the continent and globally as it aims to fight corruption, improve service delivery and enhance market efficiency by enabling public contract data to be easily accessed and compared across countries and regions.
Globally, governments spend an estimated US$9.5 trillion each year through contracts with private companies, but how, when and where this money is spent is often not publicly available.
Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe Barbara van Hellemond said the scale of a type of systematic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making process to their own advantage should not be underestimated.
“Collaboration between government, business and citizens is vital and precious to achieve greater transparency and accountability. Involving government will be a major challenge in Zimbabwe. I do see some positive developments towards more commitment from the government in this respect, the newly appointed anti-corruption commission, legislative development technical assistance from the Worldbank in for example the development of the e-governance strategy.” explained Hellemond.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Commissioner Thandiwe Mhlobane said the commission is willing to work with Hivos in the fight against corruption in Zimbabwe
“We definitely welcome your interaction and participation in which ever method or approach you want to help. We are prepared to partner with you because we believe a corruption free procurement process will reduce poverty and change the economic well being of the country.” said Mhlobane.