ESPPRA Ready to Meet Suppliers’ Needs through Standardized Tender Documents

By Phiwa Sikhondze

In a decisive move to foster fairness and efficiency in procurement processes, the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) has initiated a major reform by introducing standardized tender documents.

Following an extensive overview of the tendering process and pricing, ESPPRA CEO, Vusumutiwendvodza Matsebula, announced the initiative during a workshop on market prices for common-use items in Eswatini.

He said that ESPPRA is working tirelessly to create a level playing field for businesses and prevent inflated costs for the government. He emphasized that any reforms that ESPPRA is working on are not in any way meant to inconvenience suppliers but to create fairness and uniformity in the whole process.

He noted that the lack of uniformity in tender documents leads to an uneven playing field for businesses and inflated procurement costs for the government. Non-standardized documents fail to capture specific needs and can result in confusion, wasted bid preparation time, and discouragement of participation. The standardized bidding documents will undergo real-world testing to ensure their effectiveness.

Suppliers have welcomed the move to standardize tender documents, citing the high and varying costs they currently face. The Federation of Eswatini Business Community’s Hhohho Chairperson Johannes Manikela raised concerns about the pricing of government tender documents.

“Who controls the government’s procurement or government tender documents pricing? I will give an example of a tender that was released yesterday. This tender by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport costs E1,000 yet we have known tender documents to cost E300. It goes on to include a bond of E25,000, from E5,000. All other government Ministries charge E5,000 or E10,000 for bonds, but this one is E25,000. Who controls this to ensure that all government tender documents are standard and the price is uniform,” Manikela asked.

Matsebula noted that ESPPRA’s initiative aligns with Manikela’s call for standardization. “By establishing uniform formats and clear pricing structures, the new system aims to reduce unexpected costs for suppliers and streamline the procurement process for public entities,” the CEO noted.

Matsebula further encouraged suppliers to contact ESPPRA for further engagements on the reforms to create a smooth working group for all parties. He emphasized that suppliers should understand that the Market Price Reference Catalogue for Common Use Items is open for reviews and suggestions for the betterment of their working relationships with the government.

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