Harare mayor meets PRAZ over billing system

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Harare mayor meets PRAZ over billing system Jacob Mafume addressing journalists on Monday on the state of the city.


Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume on Monday met officials of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) over the over the city’s tender to buy a new billing system that has been bogged down in bureaucratic and technical bottlenecks for close to five years.

In an interview after the meeting, Cllr Mafume said council emphasized that PRAZ is blocking the re-instatement of an ERP (enterprise resource planning system) as recommended by the Auditor General and Parliament.

“And we indicated our disquiet over that situation and the fact that it is causing residents to suffer needlessly.

“And we hoped that out of that meeting, should we present our case again, we will not face similar problems that we have been facing at PRAZ,” he said.

Two weeks ago the City of Harare resolved to meet with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) over the city’s tender to procure a new billing system.

A special full council meeting resolved that the municipality should seek a meeting with PRAZ to understand what’s holding the conclusion of the tender and hiring of suppliers.

Harare has been operating without a billing system since 2019 when the city abandoned the BIQ system following a misunderstanding with its South African Supplier Quill Associates over pricing issues. Quill had increased its price from US$35 000 to US$75 000 and Harare terminated the contract only for the city officials to push for an ERP that costs US$52 million, which central Government and councillors have rejected.

Mayor Jacob Mafume told the meeting councillors cannot understand what is happening because it appears some officials are determined to thwart any efforts to procure an affordable billing system in favour of the US$52 million one.

One of the bidders who had won scored 89 percent of the score and the minimum qualifying score was 75 percent but council officials submitted to PRAZ and there were other mandatory requirements that that bidder did not meet. The meeting heard that council officials wanted the winning bidder to include a statement stating that they were going to fund a site visit to their premises by Harare mandarins.

“At this point, that is why we called this extraordinary council meeting to say everything, now we are running into debt, chemicals we now owe US$2,4million to Chemplex. We are struggling to pay the councillors and the workers. We are struggling to do anything even billing that an ordinary organisation is supposed to be doing. This is dramatic at all levels.

“I just want the ERP because we cannot justify what we are doing to the residents,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said council was losing money because each time it flights a tender for suppliers the winning bids are required to do variations while the local currency it collects from residents loses value sitting in the bank.

“Our money is losing value. We are supposed to buy compactors (but) we are doing variations every time, addendums upon addendums because we don’t pay on time. We have the money, it’s not paid in time, and it loses value if not used in time. You plan to use it in January, you pay in March when it has lost value, it doesn’t make sense. So we need to find where the road is and I believe this is deliberate,” said the Mayor.

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