Friday, June 5, 2009

COMESA to introduce regional tender system

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe, June 4 (Xinhua)

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) wants the government tendering system with the region to be standardized and opened to regional competitive bidding.

The chairman of the COMESA Council of Ministers and Zimbabwe's Minister of Industry and Commerce, Welshman Ncube told Xinhua Wednesday that the council had debated proposals for the adoption of the Regional Procurement Regulations.

He said the proposals would be submitted to the full summit heads of state and government at the weekend, at which the regulations were expected to be adopted.

"The regulations have been debated by council and we are now waiting to put them before the heads of state and hopefully they will be adopted. The whole objective is to standardize the procurement rules and regulations so that the entire COMESA region will have the same procurement standards and rules, and if there are any disputes, the same processes affecting those disputes because we expect that the procurement rules will apply to the whole COMESA region.

"If tenders are issued they will be issued across the whole region and bidders can come from anywhere within COMESA," Ncube said.

The tendering system will, however, be confined to tenders which exceed the respective national threshold levels for goods, services and construction.

A statement from COMESA said the proposed arrangement should further consolidate the Free Trade Area and the Customs Union to be launched at the summit on June 7.

"Given that procurement constitutes approximately 70 percent of government revenue and 15 percent of gross domestic products, the impact of public procurement to COMESA intra-regional trade is enormous."

The regulations also require member states to reform by modernizing and harmonizing their procurement systems and provide for domestic laws which promote transparency, accountability, competition, efficiency and fairness in the management of public procurement.