Manzini and Hhohho Account for Over 90% of Public Procurement Activities in Eswatini

By Phiwa Sikhondze

The two regions of Manzini and Hhohho account for over 90% of the public procurement activities in Eswatini, according to a recent study by the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (ESEPARC).

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA), analyzed the market prices of over 79,000 commonly used items and services that are procured by government ministries, parastatals and local government authorities.

ESEPARC revealed that Manzini and Hhohho have the highest number of suppliers, the highest number of items and services offered, and the highest number of prices collected for the Market Price Reference Catalogue, which was launched by the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, last week Thursday.

The catalogue is a transparency tool that aims to address the issue of overpricing by suppliers and ensure value for money for the government.

According to the ESEPARC, out of the 79 456 prices collected for the catalogue, 49 814 were from Hhohho, 22 705 were from Manzini, 3 472 were from Shiselweni, and 3 465 were from Lubombo. The study attributed the dominance of Hhohho and Manzini to their urban and industrial nature, which attracts more suppliers and customers.

The study recommended that the government should use the catalogue as a reference point for procurement officers and heads of departments, as a benchmark for prices, before awarding suppliers tenders.

The study also suggested that the government should monitor the compliance and adherence of procurement officers and suppliers to the catalogue, and enforce sanctions for non-compliance. The study also advised that the government should revise the prices in the catalogue every two years to ensure that they reflect the changes in the market.

The study concluded that the catalogue would enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, and value for money in public procurement. It would also promote fair competition, incentivize suppliers to offer competitive prices, and reduce the risk of corruption and fraud. The study also stated that the catalogue would stimulate economic growth and create opportunities for investment and development in Eswatini.

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