Revisiting Public Procurement Law in Mainland Tanzania

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Dr. Thobias Raphael Mnyasenga
Eustard P.N. Athanace

Abstract

Public procurement is an important function of the Government which is estimated to cost about 70% of the national budget in Tanzania. It has a great impact on the country‘s economy and governance. Because of such importance, the Government of Tanzania has undertaken a series of legal reforms to improve its public procurement system that has resulted into the present public procurement law that lays down stiff control and regulatory mechanisms of public procurement. Nonetheless, literature shows that Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and other procurement entities (PEs) in Mainland Tanzania fail to comply with the said law. It is unknown why LGAs fail to comply with the said public procurement law. This article intends to examine the present public procurement law with a view to determining the reasons for LGAs non-compliance and suggests possible measures thereto. Data obtained through documentary review and in-depth interviews reveal that the present public procurement law is unnecessarily cumbersome; some enforcement institutions have no powers to enforce their decisions and others have conflicting roles. LGAs non- compliance with the law is caused by such weaknesses of the law and its enforcement mechanisms, lack of national public procurement policy and stakeholders‘ ignorance of the law. The article argues for amendment of the law to remove its cumbersomeness, empower and remove conflicting roles of some enforcement institutions, establish an independent oversight authority, decentralise the PPRA, ensure independence of public procurement boards and committees, formulate national procurement policy and provide training on public procurement law to all stakeholders.

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