The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) have signed an agreement to build the capacity of special groups (women, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly) to ensure their effective participation in public procurement
Tanzania’s procurement law mandates that 30 percent of the annual public procurement volume should be allocated to special groups: women (5%), youth (10%), persons with disabilities (10%), and the elderly (5%).
A study by The Chanzo and Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) found that despite the scheme’s potential in empowering special group businesses, procuring entities in Tanzania were not complying.
The lack of awareness of the scheme and the low capacity of special groups were also noted as an issue that made the scheme which was introduced in 2016, futile. The research also shows that the process for identification and registration of special groups was cumbersome; the lack of data on the scheme’s implementation also made it difficult to monitor progress.
Also, the fact that the law required special groups to access this opportunity as groups was itself a shortfall, causing already established companies and sole proprietors to avoid the hassle of forming groups.
The lack of ownership in the provision was also a challenge, as no specific government department owned the scheme. The agreement between PPRA and NEEC might be a future way forward for the effective implementation of the scheme.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Deputy Prime Minister, Dotto Biteko emphasized the need to build the capacity of special groups in accessing these opportunities.
“PPRA reported that from July 2023 until now, 48 tenders have been taken by special groups, 18 to youth groups; 28 women groups; and two to elderly groups. However, its value is 1.9 billion, which is a small amount compared to the volume of tenders announced. What does it mean? We have work to do,” said Biteko
“Some might say that special groups lack capacity; they are struggling. Who has the capability and hasn’t been built up? We must build their capacity. Once we build their capacity, they will become billionaires and pay tax passionately,” added Biteko.
Respective ministries, the Ministry of Finance which hosts the PPRA and the office of the Prime Minister which hosts NEEC have also committed to ensure special groups access to public procurement opportunities.