Public procurement in Zambia

Zambia Public Procurement Authority

All public procurement in Zambia is regulated by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) in accordance with the Public Procurement Act of 2008. ZPPA, formerly the Zambia National Tender Board, is an independent body responsible for the regulation of procurement of goods, works and services by all procuring entities. It oversees the bidding process and monitors the execution of contracts entered into by procuring entities to ensure transparency, accountability and maximum competition for value for money in the use of public funds. The republican president appoints ZPPA’s director general and board. More information on

Procurement methods in Zambia

Simplified bidding/selection is used for low value (up to K500 million) off-the-shelf purchases. The procuring entity must obtain at least three competitive quotations for the purchase, but does not have to advertise.

Open bidding/selection is the preferred procurement method. It is used for high-value procurements (above K500 million). Invitations to bid are gazetted and advertised in newspapers. Authorisation for award of contract is either by the Procurement Committee or the Central Tender Committee.  

Limited bidding/selection is used where the circumstances do not justify or permit open bidding, that is when the goods, works or services are only available from a limited numbers of suppliers, or when there is an urgent need for them. Invitation to bid is restricted to nominated firms only. Authorisation for award of contract is either by the Procurement Committee or the Central Tender Committee.

Direct bidding to a single firm is used in an emergency, or when the goods, works or services are only available from a single source, when no advantage could be obtained by further competition, when it ensures compatibility, standardisation or continuity, or when the estimated value of the goods, works or services does not exceed the threshold prescribed in the Public Procurement Regulations. The invitation to bid is restricted to the nominated firm only, and is not advertised, but the public are free to attend the tender closing and bid opening ceremony. Authorisation is given by the Procurement Committee or the Central Tender Committee.

Force account is construction using the procuring entity’s own personnel and equipment. Used where the quantities of works involved cannot be defined in advance, the works are small and scattered or in remote locations for which qualified construction firms are unlikely to bid at reasonable prices, the works are required to be carried out without disrupting on-going operations, or where risks of unavoidable work interruption are better borne by the procuring entity than by a bidder or supplier, or there is an emergency needing prompt attention.

Purchase from other procuring entities is used where there would be no benefit in purchasing from a supplier, and the government agency is able to meet all the procuring entity’s requirement.

Procurement of infrastructure for private financing and award of concessions is applied when government uses the private sector to carry out certain projects such as construction, rehabilitation or operation of public infrastructure and other public goods on the basis of private investment. The legal framework is provided in the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2009.

Community participation is used where, in the interest of project sustainability, or to achieve certain specific objectives of the project, it is desirable in selected project components to call for participation of local communities and non-governmental organisations, to increase the utilisation of local know-how and materials, and to employ labour-intensive and other appropriate technologies.

Preferential procurement

A margin of preference may be granted to bids by a target group or to goods provided from Zambia or a particular region. Certain procurements may be reserved for a target group, such as enterprises owned by women, citizen or local bidders as well as small-sized enterprises. Statutory Instrument 36 of 2011 provides for preferential procurement, as it divides firms into three categories according to the shareholding, including citizen-influenced (5-25% owned by locals), citizen-empowered (26-50% owned by locals) and citizen-owned (50-100% owned by locals). During a public tendering process, the bid prices submitted by targeted companies are discounted by applicable margins at the financial evaluation stage.


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