BULAWAYO — Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the MDC-T have condemned the disbandment of council tender boards, a move they described as anti-devolution and development.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Government has instructed all local authorities to stop procuring goods without first seeking authority from the State Procurement Board (SPB).
Local authorities have been procuring goods and services through a local tender board, made up of councillors. Councillors said the disbandment of tender boards would cripple operations of local authorities.
“In the discussion, the view was that this move had adverse and far-reaching implications that were likely to cripple councils rather than assist them,” read part of the minutes of BCC finance and development committee.
“There was need to tackle the matter through the political approach. It was noted that the amendment was much against the spirit of devolution, which was generally seen as the panacea to the skewed socio-economic development of the region.”
The MDC-T weighed in saying: “Minister [Tendai] Biti is very clear on the MDC party’s position with regards to devolution of powers and firmly believes in giving local authorities autonomy, so as to improve efficiency in service delivery to the people”.
It said previous attempts by central government to take over such duties and responsibilities from local authorities were replete with disastrous consequences. “From the forgoing, it is our considered position that central government, through the procurement board, has no business taking over local authorities procurement boards’ responsibilities,” said the party in a statement.
Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo, said the BCC was seeking audience with Finance minister Tendai Biti on what to do on the affected tenders pending the finalisation of the matter.
“Council resolved to write a letter to the Minister, seeking directions on all pending tenders that are affected by these new regulations,” Moyo said last week.
Biti could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Government argued that it was necessary to seize the responsibility from council following allegations of corruption among councils over tender processes.