In keeping in line with one of its mandates pursuant to the Public Procurement Act, 2016, the National Public Procurement Authority on Thursday 4th February 2021 launched the First Quarter 2021 Public Procurement Price Norm at the Main Conference Hall, Ministry of Finance in Freetown. The Authority has been consistent under the current leadership in the quarterly publication of the Price Norm for the guide and mandatory use by procuring entities in their procurement activities.In his opening statement, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Sylvester B. Allieu, Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive whilst referring to paragraph (j) of subsection (2) of section 14 of the Public Procurement Act, 2021 for the publication of the Price Norm, said the Authority has been consistent in the publication of the quarterly price norm particularly under the leadership of the Chief Executive, Mr. Ibrahim Brima Swarray.The Chairman of the Board of Authority of NPPA in his statement described the launching ceremony as one of the usual gatherings and informed the audience that the publication of the quarterly Price Norm by the Authority for the use and guidance of procurement practitioners in their various entities has been going on over a period of time. He stated that the Price Norm contains price range that is published after carrying out technical survey and acknowledged that even though the Price Norm is not comprehensive, it is being upgraded from time to time. He implored procurement practitioners to give feedbacks from the price information in the Price Norm. He bemoaned the fact that some management teams in procuring entities fail or ignore the professional advice of procurement practitioners and emphasized that procurement practitioners are technical advisers and part of management team in any entity.
He concluded by pointing out that the Price Norm is a legal and technical working tool.The Acting Director of the Procurement Directorate in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Fode Konneh in his statement stressed that the Price Norm is relevant to the work of procurement practitioners, businesses and the NPPA. He pustulated that the Price Norm as a strategic document, serves as an operational tool and give relevant market information; as an audit tool, it serves as a guiding rule for prices for the use of public funds and as a value for money enhancement tool. He stressed that the Ministry will only approve payment for procurement activities after comparing the prices of the activities with
that of the Price Norm. He described the Price Norm as statistical tool with records of market products and their prices, and above all a national document. He stated that the launching is an avenue to publicize the Price Norm and its relevance, whilst pointing out that the Price Norm is a living organism that keeps evolving with the passage of time. He concluded by emphasizing that the Price Norm is an authentic tool whose publication has been sustained under the leadership of the current Chief Executive.The Chief Executive, Mr. Ibrahim Brima Swarray stated that the Public Procurement Act, 2004 which established the NPPA as a regulating agency and the procurement practice/profession was accompanied by the Public Procurement Regulations, 2006 to interpret its provisions. He informed that with the repealed of the 2004 Act and its replacement with the Public Procurement Act, 2016, the Regulations were not legally binding and operative. He pointed out that the passing of 2016 Act, there was need for regulations to interpret its provisions: hence the promulgation of the Public Procurement Regulations, 2020 under his leadership. He frowned at the fact that audit exercises have been conducted on procurement activities using the 2006 Regulations. He implored procurement practitioners to be abreast with the legal documents relating to procurement so as to be in position to challenge any procurement audit. He alluded to a circular issued by the Authority in 2020 mandating the use of Price Norm, whilst calling on all oversight institutions to be using the published Price Norm in their oversight functions. He asserted that the Authority is the only competent entity mandated to collate prices for the use of public funds.
The Chief Executive disclosed that in collating the prices for the Price Norm, certain factors like inflation and GST charges are taken into consideration by the NPPA, whilst urging procurement practitioners to be professional in their job, use the price Norm properly in order to minimize the audit queries in management response and to challenge procurement issues raised in the Annual Audit Report. The Chief Executive informed the audience that the Authority having gone through the 2019 Annual Audit Report, plan to embark on capacity building training that would be geared towards tackling issues raised in the Audit.He also mentioned that the Authority will be setting up of an archiving system where MDAs will access procurement documentations in an instance where they lose their own copies. He concluded by also informing all that the Code of Conduct has been developed by the Authority which will be shared with all stakeholders for their inputs and after it becomes operational, breach of its provisions will result to punitive measures such as suspension and ban to practice as a procurement practitioner.The ceremony was climaxed with a comments, questions and answer session.