The National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) yesterday held a one day symposium to brief stakeholders about the Country’s Procurement Assessment Review (CPAR) which is a means to harmonize the Procurement process of the country.
CPAR takes stock of the progress in the Procurement system since 2004 and has also set out steps to ensure continued progress towards establishing a modern efficient and accountable Public Procurement system. In her statement, the Chairman Board of Directors, Alice Onomake said that the vision of the Authority is always to cut down waste and save public money, therefore in achieving this vision; they will continue to sharpen the platform on which the Authority will work. She said that they want the NPPA to harmonize the Procurement process in the country with those of the International Finance Institutions and Donor Partners, Alice Onomake also said the first step in this direction “is to assess the Procurement systems of the country and use the results to modify the existing law, regulations and other solicitation documents.”
Adding that “once the system is seen to meet International Standards our development partners will find it acceptable for procuring goods, works and services.”
Mrs. Onomake disclosed that CPAR looks at four distinct areas and these are; legislative and regulatory framework, Procurement operations and market practices and integrated and transparency of the Public Procurement system.
Highlighting some of the achievements of the Authority, the Chairlady said they have been able to train 38 Junior Procurement Officers and six Senior Procurement Officers on Procurement Management, initiating a mainstreaming strategy using mentoring arrangement to strengthen the capacity of the newly engaged Procurement Cadre Officers.
She added that the Authority has published its 2007/2008 Annual Report, published the 2010 Compliance Monitoring Report for the first time since the inception of NPPA.
She said that in carrying out its functions, the Authority has impacted on the spending entities in the country as they started from less than 30 entities to 57 public spending entities in 2009/2010 “and today we have reached out to almost 120 entities in the 2010/2011 planning cycle.”
Dr. Adeyemi Suleiman the Acting Chief Executive of NPPA said that Public Procurement has become important in the day to day activities of the country, This is because most citizens recognize the importance of Procurement which is a way of ensuring efficient and effective public expenditures.
He said: “there is greater need for transparency, accountability, value for money and probity in the deployment of public resources.”
Dr. Suleiman said that the NPPA is fortunate “to be given the mandate to ensure sustainable development through the regulatory functions in public acquisitions of goods, works and services and also in ensuring proper disposal of government assets in a transparent manner.”
The intention of the Authority he went on “is to continue to strengthen the Public Procurement Act and also to attract support and collaboration with the International Donor Community through demonstrations of the country’s will to play the rule of Procurement in accordance with International Standards.”
The World Bank Country Economist Yusuf Bob Foday said that sound Public Procurement policies and practices are among the essential elements of good governance, and sound practice to reduce cost and produce timely results.
“Poor practices lead to wastes and delays and are often the cause for allegations of corruption and government inefficiency. It is against this backdrop that the Bank assists its clients in the area of Procurement” the Country Economist said.
He added that this assistance enables borrowers to analyze their present Procurement policies, organization and procedures; and helps them to develop their systems to increase their capacity to effectively plan, manage and monitor the Procurement.”
He disclosed that when the World Bank conducted its first Assessment in 2004, on Public Procurement they provided the Government of Sierra Leone with a set of recommendations that would send it on its way towards creating a sound national Procurement system.
By Betty Milton