As part of its mandates pursuant to paragraph (i) subsection (2) of section 14 of the Public Procurement Act, 2016, the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) is mandated to publish a quarterly public procurement bulletin containing information on public procurement, approved procurement plans, proposed procurement notices, invitation to bids, and contract award information.
In fulfillment of the above mandate, the NPPA on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020, launched the second quarter 2020 Public Procurement Bulletin at the Main Conference Hall, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Tower Hill, Freetown. The ceremony was attended by Board, Management and staff of the NPPA, procurement practitioners, civil society and the media.
The Chairman of the occasion, Barrister Francis M. Gbaya, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs in his statement said the theme of the second quarter 2020 Bulletin ‘Ensuring Value for Money’ as a principle of public procurement runs throughout the procurement cycle and is a pointer to the procurement savings that the Authority is making through its rigorous review mechanism. He gave an outline of the contents of the Bulletin which include the following: Procurement Savings Made, 2020 Procurement Plans, Bidding Documents Reviewed, Evaluation Reports Reviewed, Requests for Alternative Procurement Methods and processes, Contract Award Information, List of Invitation to Bids, Most Compliant Procuring Entities/Officers, Status of Submission of SPF-6, Sample of Published 2nd Quarter 2020 Price Norm, 2018 Annual Procurement Assessment Summary, Presentation of Annual Assessment Report to the President, Review of Contracts, Public Notices, NPPA Promulgates Public Procurement Regulations, 2020, Frequently Asked Questions.
The Programme Officer of Budget Advocacy Network (BAN), Mr. Sesay Abdulrahman said as a consortium of different civil society organizations, they have been working on transparency and accountability with the Audit Service, National Revenue Authority among others and that BAN will collaborate with the NPPA to enhance procurement accountability. He pointed out that since the Bulletin contains simplified information on compliance with procurement law, BAN will do analysis on the information and follow up on actions that will be taken against those entities that failed to comply with procurement processes and procedures.
In his statement, the Programme Manager of Transparency International, Mr. Edward Koroma said his organization is part of a global civil society anti-corruption network that has local chapters in more than 100 countries and the key mandate of Transparency International is to promote transparency and accountability in both the private and public sectors as a mechanism to curb corruption.
Mr. Koroma said public procurement accounts for close to 80% of government’s expenditure to procure goods, works and services and Transparency International Sierra Leone has over the years worked tirelessly with Key government Ministries and local councils to ensure that the process is transparent and done in line with the existing procurement law, manual and regulations.
He noted that despite the efforts of civil society organizations and governments past and present to bring sanity and ensure value for money in public procurement processes, there are still gross violations of processes and procedures by procurement practitioners. This, according to him, is a clear indication of the fact that Government, NPPA, public procurement practitioners and civil society organizations have to do more to bring sanity in the procurement arena.
He mentioned that the NPPA under its current leadership has been very pro-active in carrying out its mandate as the lead agency responsible to ensure proper public procurement processes by saving the country from losing billions of Leones through mis-procurement.
He concluded by appealing to procurement practitioners to always consider the theme of the Bulletin – “Ensuring Value for Money” whenever they want to undertake procurement as this will ensure that our beloved nation resurrects from its current state of poverty and underdevelopment. He also appealed to NPPA to consider building the capacity of civil society Organizations to complement their monitoring efforts as ensuring proper procurement is a collective effort of both state and non-state actors.
The Chairman of the NPPA Board of Authority, Mr. Alfred H. Kandeh said the theme for the Bulletin ‘Ensuring Value for Money’ encompasses procurement planning, costing, contract management and disposal of assets. He entreated the media and procurement practitioners to contribute to the publication of the Bulletin by sending in their inputs as it is done in other professional journals. He implored procurement practitioners to always submit their annual procurement plan to the NPPA for technical validation and report on their procurement activities by using the Standard Procurement Form 6.
The Chief Executive of the NPPA, Mr. Ibrahim Brima Swarray said the launching of the second quarter 2020 bulletin marked another significant milestone in the procurement landscape. He said the NPPA as a regulator needs to be proactive to ensure value for money through accountability and transparency; whilst assuring that the NPPA will ensure that every procurement activity is published for public reading and raise the red flag on wrongful procurement activities. He said the Bulletin recorded procurement saving of the sum of Le. 12, 767,921,675 for the first and second quarters of 2020 through its rigorous review of procurement activities, entities that failed to follow various procurement processes and procedures, recognized most compliant institutions such as the Audit Service Sierra, National Revenue Authority, Anti-Corruption Commission etc. and procurement practitioner like Alhaji Umar Kabba of the Ministry of Water Resources. He encouraged other procurement practitioner to benchmark the conduct of Alhaji Umar Kabba in carrying out all procurement activities in their respective MDAS.
He concluded by appealing to the media and civil society to assist in bringing to book entities that flout procurement processes and procedures.