A team from the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) has visited the Port Loko District to educate them about the procurement process in the country.
Mohamed Musa Head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the NPPA in an interview disclosed the purpose of their visit to the district which was “a sensitization trip to two institutions which the procurement reform process has been rolled out to, these are the Port Loko Teachers College and the District Council.”
Mr Musa said that they have realized that most of the departments and ministries are not au-fait with the procurement processes and procedures and there are problems relating to the implementation of the procurement process particularly in the Port Loko Teachers College “so we discussed issues relating to the formation of procurement structures in that institution and the issue of procurement planning. We also discussed about the end users relationships as this relates to devolved institutions to the Council.”
Explaining further he went on, “In terms of the procurement structure we explained the requirement of the law as to who constitute the procurement committee and procurement unit, the functions of each of those layers in the procurement structure, we also discussed the issue of resource availability to the end users particularly to the devolved institutions as we have observed that there has always been the tendency for the devolved institution to ask for their allocations in terms of cash instead of asking for resources to carry out their activities.”
As this posed a lot of problems, the team decided to enlighten the college and Council “that it is resources that you should be asking for and not allocations because the allocations are just a budget line under the Council or in the institution in terms of the department.”
Questioned whether this problem is only found in Port Loko District, the Monitoring and Evaluation Boss said “this problem is a generic one in the reform process that most of the department or devolved functions most often has requested for either their allocations or their budget per se and we have also told them that the essence of management is to make available resources which is for what budgets are prepared and not to ask for cash as such management will be considered to be a cash sharing management and any management that shares cash is a redundant management.”
Highlighting the problems they noticed during the visit, Mr. Musa disclosed that Port Loko Teachers College is only being brought into the fold this year therefore their procurement unit is at the stage of formation and one thing that was found out was that the procurement unit was not given its due attention in procurement process that is procurement were done outside the procurement unit in the College.
He dilated on the major concern in the College including the lack of funds, he said according to the acting principal the college is facing very serious budgetary constrains in that a greater part of their budgetary subvention is still held up in the ministry of finance and so for them to undertake their activities is almost impossible but for the intervention of some NGO’ that have come to their aid like UNICEF to support them with certain logistical requirements.
Mr Musa went on to explain that another problem encountered by the College is “also the procurement unit did not have the required resources to make it functional including tables, chairs, computers and shelves but the management of the college has promised that they are in the process of facilitating and addressing all of those issues, and to also aid in the smooth running of the unit a procurement officer has completed training in procurement matters.”
The problem faced by the Port Loko District Council Mr Musa said, was getting the end users to understand that for all devolved functions of those end users including the ministry of education, social welfare, health should be asking for resources and not for cash.”
The Monitoring and Evaluation Boss said that they are mostly in the provinces correcting issues and looking at compliances.