Stakeholders Welcome ESPPRA’s Market Prices Catalogue

Stakeholders in the procurement fraternity have applauded the market price reference catalogue for commonly used items produced by the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA).

Speaking during the official launch of the catalogue at Sibane Sami Hotel recently, the stakeholders praised ESPPRA for taking the initiative to level the playing field as far as the prices of commonly used items were concerned.

Eswatini National Industrial Development Corporation (ENIDC) Managing Director, Muzikayise Dube, expressed appreciation of the initiative. He noted that the catalogue will help controlling officers since prices have suddenly increased after the establishment of ESPPRA. He expressed hope that procurement would now be guided.

“As a controlling officer, you find it a waste of time to follow the law to the dot because it is frustrating. You end up not buying and our organisations are suffering,” Dube said.

The Matsapha Town Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Lucky Sukati, said: “We thank such an important initiative and are confident that it will aid the efforts to develop our local economies. For instance, when an organization in Matsapha buys from the Lubombo region, that region benefits.”

Sukati said the price difference for the same commodities was a confirmation of the dire need for such a regulation mechanism. He said it was normal to stumble on a commodity with the same specification costing E400 and E1, 200 in two different shops.

The initiative was also applauded by the Eswatini Air CEO, Qiniso Dlamini, who highlighted the importance of regional procurement. He encouraged the support of businesses in the outlying regions such as Shiselweni and Lubombo, who he said should be allowed to participate in the country’s economic growth.

On another note, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Sizakele Dlamini, said there would be a stakeholder engagement to address the decentralization of public procurement. She said schools and hospitals would be encouraged to source goods and services from their regions.

Lilian Zwane of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) joined the other executives in appreciating ESPPRA’s compilation of the market prices catalogue.

University of Eswatini (UNESWA’s) Patience Hlatshwako said she was happy with the results of the market prices study, which she described as a step in the right direction in the improvement of public procurement.

ESPPRA’s Thulile Sifundza, who was the programme director at the event, labelled the catalogue as a tool that will improve the public procurement system. She mentioned that the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis & Research Centre (ESEPARC) was engaged in an open tendering process to conduct the study in the country’s four regions. She said the study has uncovered the mammoth task faced by the government to improve the public procurement system.

The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, who launched the initiative, said it would revolutionize Eswatini’s public procurement landscape. He noted that public procurement was the engine of the country’s economy and assisted the government in providing supplies for education, construction, maintenance of infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and health equipment, agriculture supplies and security, among others.

“Suppliers of these goods and services get income to run their businesses with multiplier effects, including job creation which leads to economic growth,” he said.

The minister mentioned that the success of the initiative depended on the collaboration and commitment of the different procuring entities.

“The market price reference catalogue signifies a new era of transparency and accountability in procurement. It is an opportunity for everyone to reshape the way we do business, maximize limited resources and drive economic growth for the benefit of Eswatini,” Rijkenberg said.

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