Tirivashe Mundondo

ICT & Comms Specialist

Examining the Implications: President Mnangagwa's Decision to Grant Exemptions to 21 Entities under Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act

Presidential Executive Authority: Exemption of Public Entities

In a significant legal development, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has recently invoked his executive authority to grant exemption to 21 public entities from the regulatory scrutiny mandated by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act. This decision, following the restructuring of the Sovereign Wealth Fund into the Mutapa Investment Fund via Statutory Instrument 156 of 2023, has resulted in the consolidation of various State-owned enterprises under a singular umbrella entity.

In evaluating the ramifications of President Mnangagwa's decision, it is imperative to meticulously weigh the fundamental tenets of transparency and accountability embedded in the public procurement framework

Exempted Entities and Public Concerns: A Closer Look

The roster of exempted entities, as delineated in General Notice 164B of 2024, includes influential entities such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, AFC Commercial Bank, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, TelOne, and Kuvimba Mining House. It is noteworthy that these entities had previously enjoyed exemption under antecedent legislation, thereby sparking public consternation.

The expansion of the exemption list to encompass entities such as Aurex (Private) Limited, Bindura Nickel Corporation Limited, Fidelity Gold Refinery (Private) Limited, and others has given rise to pertinent questions regarding the transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the realm of public sector transactions.

Balancing Economic Growth and Governance Standards

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, conceived to establish transparency and accountability in public procurement processes, is a linchpin in promoting principles of good governance. However, the decision to shield specific entities from the regulatory purview necessitates a rigorous examination of the delicate equilibrium between advancing economic growth and averting potential abuses of power.

Proponents of the exemptions contend that expediting decision-making processes and attracting investments are imperative for economic progress. Conversely, critics articulate concerns over the potential diminution of checks and balances inherent in the regulatory framework. The inclusion of entities like Jena Mines (Private) Limited, Printing and Minting Company of Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, and Zimbabwe Alloys Limited in the exemptions list underscores the broad spectrum of entities shielded from regulatory scrutiny.

Legal Implications of Presidential Decree

This section will delve into the legal ramifications of President Mnangagwa's decision to grant exemptions. It will explore how this move aligns with or challenges existing legal frameworks, raising questions about the constitutionality and potential legal challenges that may arise. Analyzing the legal aspects provides a comprehensive understanding of the broader implications of the executive authority's decision.

In evaluating the ramifications of President Mnangagwa's decision, it is imperative to meticulously weigh the fundamental tenets of transparency and accountability embedded in the public procurement framework. Striking an equilibrium between fostering economic development and upholding governance standards is an intricate task that necessitates meticulous scrutiny.

As the nation grapples with these legal changes, it becomes incumbent upon stakeholders, including civil society, to engage in a constructive legal discourse. This engagement is essential to ensure that the exemptions granted align with the overarching objectives of stimulating economic growth while concurrently preserving robust safeguards against potential abuses of power. The principles of public finance management enunciated in Chapter 17 of the Constitution bind the State and all its agencies to transparency and accountability. Such accountability and transparency are enhanced oversight.

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