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Procurement law favours Malawians

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Parliament Wednesday passed a bill which will see indigenous Malawians getting a marginal preference of 60 percent in procurement processes.

The bill means people with their family roots in the country and are in business will be having more chances of being chosen to provide goods and services to government entities if they get 60 percent even in a scenario where a foreign entity has scored 80 percent in procurement process.

The bill titled Public Procurement and Disposal of assets, which seeks to replace the Procurement Act of 2003, also removes the presidential powers in the appointment of the Director General for the proposed Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority.

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The authority will be responsible for the hiring of the Director General and provision of ‘no objections’ as opposed to the current arrangement where an individual called Director of Public Procurement gets more powers to do so.

While saying the current procurement law has so many gaps which expose it to corruption, Chairperson for the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Rhino Chiphiko, said the day was a landmark as parliamentarians had established a better law.

Chiphiko, whose committee together with Legal Affairs Committee provided the bill’s scrutiny services, said time has come for Malawians to benefit from the country’s resources.

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“It will actually encourage a lot of Malawians to participate in government business. You know government is the biggest business in every land and at this juncture a lot of Malawians are excluded. But this time around, we would really want to give preferences to Malawians,” Chiphiko said.

In his contribution to the bill, Karonga Central Member of Parliament, Frank Mwenifumbo, said there is no need for foreign entities to be preferred in procurements that are for Malawians.

Chikwawa North lawmaker, Harry Thomson, said the wording ‘indigenous’ is not ideal and he would have preferred the use of those people who are citizens but a lot of members opposed his decision.

The minister will be responsible for the appointment of the Authority which will comprise people from different institutions including Malawi Law Society and Malawi Bureau of Standards.

The new law will also see the Anti-Corruption Bureau being involved in vetting procurement decisions for all big bids.

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