Enhanced oversight and monitoring of public procurement in Zambia’s education sector

CUTS, in partnership with GIZ, has embarked a 12-month project aimed at enhancing oversight and monitoring of public procurement within Zambia’s education sector.

The project seeks to rectify institutional and regulatory shortcomings that hinder the efficient provision of public goods and services in education. By focusing on districts like Kabwe and Itezhi Tezhi, highlighted in the 2021 Auditor General’s report, the project aims to address procurement issues such as construction and supply of goods and services.

Currently, Zambia’s education procurement system suffers from lack of transparency, limited participation, and inadequate oversight. The Auditor General’s reports consistently expose mismanagement of funds, failure to follow procurement procedures, and wasteful expenditure. Such malpractices exacerbate the country’s debt situation and impede progress in the education sector, leading to stalled projects and inefficient resource allocation.

Fraud and corruption further plague the procurement process, with reports linking politically influential individuals to contract awards. The IMF’s Governance Diagnostic Assessment Report highlights governance weaknesses, including insufficient transparency, manual operations, and delays in implementing electronic procurement systems.

Moreover, poor engagement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and citizens exacerbates the problem, compounded by limited understanding of procurement processes and institutional framework weaknesses.

To address these challenges, the project advocates for the implementation of key recommendations, including the operationalization of beneficial ownership registers and proactive publication of tender results. Strengthening CSO capacity and advocating for access to information laws. By generating evidence and advocating for transparency, the project aims to improve sector allocations and service delivery, ultimately benefiting Zambia’s education sector.

In conclusion, the Enhanced Oversight and Monitoring of Public Procurement in Zambia’s Education Sector project represents a crucial step towards fostering transparency, accountability, and efficiency in education procurement.

Through collaboration and advocacy, it seeks to address systemic issues and pave the way for tangible improvements in service delivery and resource allocation.