Transparency in public sector procurement is a challenge around the world. Legislation is in place in many countries to encourage responsible government spending on public services. In some places, private coalitions are forming to make sure that these laws are upheld. Most recently, Tanzania Contract Monitoring Coalition (TCMC) launched in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa.
Why Tanzania Needs a Watchdog
The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) believes TCMC will benefit the citizens of Tanzania. “Public procurement is an important undertaking because it uses a big portion of the tax payers’ money,” said Ramadhani Mlinga, chief executive officer of PPRA. “The government institutions have the responsibility to ensure that their procurements help to get goods and services which reflect value for money.”
PPRA enforces the Public Procurement Act of 2004 to improve the efficiency and transparency of public sector procurement. The government’s development budget is almost entirely spent on goods and services to better the region, such as school constructions and other public development projects. In the past, corruption, poor contract management, and a lack of priorities resulted in misused funds and overspending. TCMC, along with PPRA, aims to end those concerns and move Tanzania forward.
Will TCMC Succeed?
22 local organizations and agencies that share an interest in public sector procurement make up TCMC. The coalition plans to restructure the current procurement processes to unify certain methods and to improve efficiency of the system. These changes will also make it easier for citizens to play a more active role in public development and procurement. Stakeholders can watch all transactions to make sure it’s the best value for the costs.
Between 2006 and 2012, compliance with the Public Procurement Act increased from 39% to 74% with the help of PPRA. While these improvements are astounding, PPRA has still not established a way to involve the public in the procurement process. “Through the coalition, experts and the public in general will be able to advise on issues of national interests,” said TCMC chairman Julius Kabyemera.
There’s a good chance that a watchdog like TCMC is just what many countries need to end corruption in public sector procurement and to stimulate development.