South African finance minister Malusi Gigaba said on Wednesday the government was strengthening policies for public procurement in a bid to support black economic empowerment, industrialization and development of small businesses.
Delivering his budget speech in parliament, Gigaba said public procurement – worth hundreds of billions of rand annually – was a critical lever to change the production and ownership patterns of the economy to empower black people, women and youth.
He said the National Treasury would submit the Public Procurement Bill to Cabinet next month so it could be gazetted for public comments.
“It will further enable government to use public procurement strategically to advance transformation, achieve efficiencies, and improve governance,” Gigaba said.
“Treasury will increase collaboration with all law enforcement agencies to strengthen efforts to fight fraud, corruption and abuse of supply-chain management system across all spheres of government in order to restore the integrity of supply chain management.
“The director-general of the National Treasury will issue a directive to all government departments to pay their suppliers in 30 days, or risk being charged for financial misconduct.”
A large number of deviations from normal procurement processes had reduced the credibility of the supply-chain management system in recent years, the finance minister said.
He said that deviations could result in anti-competitive practices that opened the door to corruption and limited transformation by preventing small businesses from doing business with the state.
“In future, deviations will be allowed only in rare, well-justified cases,” Gigaba said. (via African News Agency)