Action Aid Programme Manager for Governance Musonda Kabinga says government needs to make procurement laws more sound in order to improve transparency in the awarding of contract and avoid public speculations.

Speaking in an interview with News Diggers! Kabinga also appealed to government to re-introduce some of the old orientation methods for those employed in the civil service as a way of promoting professionalism.

“If you look at public service, there is need for government to be very transparent in the manner that they are managing public affairs. There has been issues to do with procurement. We have always said there is need to review our procurement law. There are a number of things that we can do to ensure that our procurement law is sound,” he said.

“One of the issue is the issue of contracts, there is need to make the contracts public. By that I mean the public needs to be involved or aware so that there is less speculation because all these controversies are coming from the issue of transparency. A practical example is on the issue that Avic is constructing this Lumumba road. Government should make available publicly some of these contract documents. Like Lumumba road or the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway, people have not seen some of the contract documents.”

He recommended that government adopts the old orientation methods for civil servants in order to prevent the abuse of resources.

“Secondly, if you look at this issue of civil servants abusing resources, when we look at where we are coming from, before you fully settle in the civil service, there were a number of processes that people were required to undergo. In short we are saying, can government begin to introduce some of the things like the full orientation of civil servants before one joins government. The full orientation systems and requirements that are needed. Yes we have seen and heard the President in the Parliamentary speech talking about the need for patriotism but it will go beyond just the actual pronouncements, deliberate actions and steps should be taken,” Kabinga said.

He further called on government to show its full commitment in implementing the Integrated Financial Management system (IFMS).

“We appreciate the commitment by government to enhance Public Finance Management. They are talking about the public Finance Management Act and recently a statutory instrument was issued to ensure that the public Finance Management Act is implemented fully. But if you look at the Public Finance Management Act, it has certain provisions, they are talking of punitive measures like you can be suspended or demoted if you are engaged for instance in theft. They also mentioned the issue of the Integrated Financial Management system (IFMS) but that’s not what we are seeing in practice, and that is what we would like to appeal to government. If we are talking of the full implementation of the IFMS, it will require government’s full commitment. The reason I say this is because recently, we heard that there was a challenge in implementing the IFMS. So from where we stand, we ask how this important programme can face challenges,” said Kabinga.

“So that is why we are urging government to fully ensure that they implement the IFMS, it needs total support. Whatever challenges that the system has, government can’t fail to address those challenges and that is where we stand. Yes these measures, government is highlighting them in the laws and all that, but the issue is there has to be total commitment from government. So they need to own up and support the process fully.”