Public tenders: Blacklisting firms is not enough

Nearly 200 companies are currently blacklisted by the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) for doing shoddy works, forgery, abandoning contracts, getting involved in corruption, among others.

The companies are now barred from participating in public tenders for a period ranging from six months to five years depending on the nature and severity of the offence committed.

Over the years tenderers have been accused of not delivering on their part of the bargain in public contracts after many of them abandoned projects halfway through implementation, thereby causing financial losses to the Government and derailing development efforts.

Yet these firms often collude with or renege on their contracts due to the misconduct of some of the officials from their client institutions (government agencies, whether it’s about doing shoddy work or abandoning projects before completion.

While it is important that RPPA continuously blacklists such firms and widely circulates information regarding this decision to prevent them from winning another government contract, blacklisting is not enough; the offenders must be brought to book and taxpayers’ money recovered. 

In addition, public institutions that circumvent tendering procedures – which often lead to anomalies that result in the contractors reneging on their contractual obligations – should be held to account, starting with the procurement officer and internal tender committees to management and boards.

It is through enforcement of the law that professionalism will be observed in public procurement processes and billions of taxpayers’ money saved from corruption.