The Public Procurement Bill, 2011 was tabled by finance minister Mustafa Mkulo, who said the government sought permission to purchase used items because new aircraft, ships, locomotive engines and wagons were expensive and not readily available.
According to the Public Procurement Act, 2004, it was strictly prohibited for any government institution to purchase used items such as cars, aircrafts, ships, locomotive engines and wagons.
The minister assured the House that the Bill also sets criteria to be met before carrying out any emergency procurement.
Kangi Lugola (CCM-Mwibara) was the first lawmaker to oppose the idea, saying the government proposal would have serious consequences on the public, most of who depend on railway and marine vessels such as ships for transport.
“Allowing the government to purchase used locomotive engines, wagons, ships and aircrafts that are automatically meant for public use is dangerous. We are putting the lives of the public at risk,” the MP emphasized.
The MP cited the tragic incidents such as the 2002 train accident near Dodoma in which about 200 passengers were killed.
He also pointed out the MV Bukoba accident in 2006 which killed 1,000 people and the recent marine tragedy that involved MV Spice Islander in which over 2000 people are known to have perished as the lessons that the government should take into account before coming up with such a risky proposal.
David Silinde (Chadema- Mbozi West) said the government idea of purchasing used aircrafts, ships, locomotive engines and wagons should be discarded immediately as it had no benefit to the public.
“If the father of the nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was able to buy new aircraft, ships, locomotive engines and wagons during his administration when the country was not economically strong and with few educated government officers what makes the government to go for used items today”? he queried, adding: “I think the aim here is to kill Tanzanians.”
The Bill gives more powers to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and also sets procedures for conducting due diligence for foreign firms or offshore companies participating in bids.
The debate continues today with minister expected to wind up the proposal this evening.
Mid last year a hot debate ensued in the country among Members of Parliament with some lawmakers including Kigoma North MP Kabwe Zuberi Zitto calling for the purchase of turbines owned by Dowans while other MPs opposed the idea, saying the move would contravene the Public Procurement Act, 2004, that among other things prohibited the procurement of used items.