By Sibusiso Dlamini | 2019-11-10
GOVERNMENT is determined to root out corruption with its zero tolerance stance for it, says Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.
He requested both the public and private sectors to support government in this undertaking.
The PM was speaking during the Eswatini Procurement Indaba gala dinner held at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre on Wednesday.
Dlamini said government was aware that if properly carried out, public procurement could be used as a tool to deter corruption.
“May I take this time to emphasise that government is unyielding in its endeavour to ensure that all proceeds of corruption, and any other criminal activity, are traced and forfeited to the state. To achieve that, both the public and private sectors have an ethical role to play.
“It therefore goes without saying that public procurement plays a pivotal role in national development and sustainable economic growth. Government views public procurement as a strategic function which can be leveraged to revitalise our economy,” he said.
The PM said a significant amount of government’s expenditure was spent on the procurement of goods and services in order to achieve social obligations to the citizenry. Therefore, with this buying power, government is better poised to influence the conduct of public procurement.
“The world over, governments are strengthening the processes, checks and balances of public procurement to help deliver public services with efficiency, ensuring public confidence in government is protected and enhanced.
“Research has shown that the value of public procurement in the Kingdom of Eswatini stood at E14 billion last year.
“This means a sizeable percentage of the national budget goes to public procurement, and a number of local companies, especially small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), rely on government business to succeed and attain growth,” he said.
Dlamini said government was not just looking to limit using procurement as a mitigating tool for corruption, but also as an option to forge relationships with the private sector for financing of certain projects, hence the strategic public private partnerships (PPPs) meant to enhance innovation and leverage on their business expertise and better achieve efficient public service delivery.
“We are currently looking at several procurement interventions, one of which is using procurement as a tool for rationalising government expenditure, using the private public partnership (PPP) model as an alternative model of financing government projects.
Government’s financial position does not always allow for the implementation of important national projects, hence widening the base of sourcing finance remains a viable option.
Many governments are attracted to the PPPs model since it has the capability of providing quality infrastructure and accessible public services without over stretching the public purse,” said the PM.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg said whilst the deliberations on the public and private sector held over the two-day Indaba might be long overdue, they were still crucial in ensuring that procurement is consciously used as a vehicle to accelerate economic revival efforts and improve the lives of all Emaswati.
“This two-day session of robust engagement was a much-needed one, and we look upon ESPPRA to ensure that public procurement follows all the necessary regulations and laws to help benefit the lives of the citizenry,” he said.
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