The Director of the National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS) Coordinating Unit of the Anti Corruption Commission, Shollay Davies, has said in Freetown that procurement is one of the key corruption issues in not only Sierra Leone but the entire African continent such that it is costing our continent about $150 Billion a year.
The Director made this statement upon his invitation to witness the official launch of a handbook prepared by the National Accountability (NAG) Group and the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) titled ‘Procurement Made Simple’
He further disclosed that studies conducted by the World Bank has shown that procurement accounts for about 70-80% of government recurrent expenditure and about 20% of this is misprocurement.
This statistics sends an appalling signal to the point that if prudent measures are not taken adequately, the problem of procurement will continue to delude the nation’s socio-economic development.
Mr. Davies explained the nitty-gritty of procurement procedures and the pitfalls it has faced prior to the enactment of the Public Procurement Law in 2004. He pointed out that most procurement practitioners and vendors or suppliers had simply considered procurement as buying and selling with little or no procedures to ensure transparency, accountability and competitiveness.
The chairman of the launching ceremony Mr. Amadu Wurie discussed the necessity of the handbook in procurement processes, since it simplifies legal technicalities inherent in the 2004 Act and the reader-friendliness of the content of the respective topics deliberated on in the book.
Buttressing the effectiveness of the handbook, the Chief Administrator of Freetown City Council Mr. Boison Philips said “there is widespread ignorance in procurement and governance processes” and added that “the Council remains committed in its performance to good service delivery”. He stressed the Council’s wish to ensure the propagation of information imbedded in the drafted manuscript.
In his speech at the launch of the handbook, the Deputy Director, Budget Bureau of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr. Tesima A. Jah considered the launch of the book as one of the major steps in the history and development of public finance management in Sierra Leone. He said that an effective and efficient procurement process leads to value for money which is tantamount to integrity, cost savings, better satisfaction and good financial management practices.
The launching ceremony organized by NAG and NPPA at the Conference Hall of the Christian Health Association Office, Kingharman Road was attended by government officials, the Press and members of NGOs.
The handbook will go a long way to provide the necessary guide in this new dispensation, as the nation strives to build capacity in the handling of procurement in the public sector including local government. It will also serve as a tool for not only young practitioners but professionals as well for consultation when carrying out their work to avoid misprocurement.
Considering the high level of illiteracy in the country, the authors have simplified legal jargons found in the 2004 Act to develop enthusiasm by the public to read the book. This will facilitate understanding of the Act and procurement procedures among members to encourage development and stifle corruption.
By Poindexter Sama