It was revealed during the 3rd Annual Public Procurement Forum that the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) declared the value of Public Procurement planned by Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs), Commissions and Local Councils to be up to two trillion Leones which is the total cost of the plan for the MDA’S.
This was revealed by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Foday Mansaray at the Forum which was held at the Shangri La Hall Aberdeen when he was declaring the programme open with the theme “The Public Procurement Act-the way forward.”
Mr. Mansaray explained that since 2004 when the Public Procurement Act was passed, the NPPA has made courageous efforts to stem the tide of Public Procurement implementation and weathered the storm of resistance against change “yet change is the only constant thing that brings about development in our societies.”
The Chairman of the occasion stated further that this year’s Forum focuses on bringing together stakeholders to discuss the fundamental framework on which Public Procurement itself is based.
He stated that the aim of the Forum is to focus on the Procurement Act for the purpose of addressing key operational challenges and also looking ahead for strategies aimed at advancing the course of Public procurement in the country.
Speaking about the importance of Procurement, the Minister stated that weak and corrupt Procurement systems often lead to waste of public funds, and this will result into higher transaction costs “this seriously undermines developmental efforts and makes further inroads into increasing poverty in the society” he said.
He went on, “if no conscious efforts are not exerted by an oversight institution like the NPPA the two trillion Leones may result in a big avenue for waste and underdevelopment, with little or no impact on economic development.This is why the role of NPPA continues to be relevant to our nation and will continue to strike the right cord with the government.”
In his keynote address the Chief of Staff Kaifala Marrah said that Procurement is about service delivery and that good Procurement will bring development to the country.
He said that there is a line between error and corruption. When it comes to management function a private sector mistake is an error while public sector mistake is corruption.
Dr Marrah averred that no matter the extent we go in making reform or review documents when the mind set is not development oriented there will be no use.
He urged NPPA to create a database of non performing contractors as there is need to hold people to account for miss-procurement because everyone needs to treat procurement seriously.
Welcoming participants at the Forum the Board Chairman Board of NPPA, Mrs. Alice Onomake said that the hosting of the conference is not an accident but a statutory function of the Authority as provided by the 2004 Public Procurement Act.
She said that the law which established the NPPA defines the oversight functions as “covering procurement of goods, works and services, financed in whole or in part from public or donor funds by virtually all MDA’s, Commissions and local councils. These include sub vented agencies as well as State owned enterprises which utilize public funds”.
Explaining this portion of the Act the Chairman said as long as any institution uses public funds, its public procurement activities are subjected to the rules and regulations of the Public Procurement Law.
She added that in a census of the public institutions in the country “there are about 300 spread across the 72,000 square miles of the country’s landscape and so in carrying out its functions the Authority has gradually impacted on these entities.”
Mrs. Onomake said that the Authority started with less than 30 entities, but they have reached out to 57 public spending entities by 2009 and as of now they have reached out to close to 120 entities that have submitted realistic procurement plans for the 2011 fiscal year” adding that the vision of the Authority has always been to cut waste and save public money.
By Betty Milton