Tuesday, 6 September 2016

GOVT, COUNCIL HEADS FOR CLASH

Harare councillors are headed for collision with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing over the City Fathers’ refusal to adhere to stipulated tender processes in cases where council is receiving unsolicited bids for projects. In a recent meeting, council resolved to disregard the Joint Ventures Act which stipulates that it should flight tenders before engaging companies over unsolicited services as the act “delays implementation of projects”.

Unsolicited bids are services initiated by companies, and not council. The statutory provisions regarding unsolicited bids are provided for in Section 12 of the Joint Ventures Act (Chapter 22:22).

“The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing had notified all town clerks and secretaries through circular Number 5 bringing attention to the need to adhere to stipulated public tender processes in cases where council was receiving bids for projects.
“Attached to the acting town clerk’s report was a copy of the circular from the Ministry as well as an extract on the provisions of respective Joint Ventures Act,” read the minutes of a recent council Business Committee meeting.

The Act, which was gazetted in February this year, establishes governing rules for the public-private procurement process, public-private partnerships and supporting major investments across all sectors.
“The committee considered the matter and was of the view that the statutory provisions were not in the best interest of council as they resulted in delayed implementation of projects and that they were in conflict with the principles of ease of doing business as well as the provisions of the Zimbabwe Constitution regarding decentralisation of governance to local authorities,” reads the minutes.

It was the committee’s view that the provisions be ignored as they were inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. herald

Categories of joint ventures under the Joint Ventures Act include build and transfer; build, lease and transfer; build, own and operate; build, own, operate and transfer; build, transfer as well as develop, operate and transfer.

Analysts say the Act provides a clear legal framework for participation of the private sector in national projects.

The approval of Joint Ventures Act agreements will be the preserve of the Cabinet after recommendations from the committee.

This will ensure transparency and that the Government and the investment partner are not prejudiced.

The permanent secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Mr Willard Manungo, chairs the Joint Venture Committee comprising secretaries for the ministries of Industry and Commerce, Transport and Infrastructural Development, Energy and Power Development, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. herald

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