Publish annual procurement plans in line with the law

Thursday, February 9th, 2023 01:30 | By
Ruto holds first paperless Cabinet meeting
President William Ruto during Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, January 31 at State House Nairobi. PHOTO/PSCU

Kenya has made a significant progress in the journey to holistically improve the public procurement system based on the principles of good governance, equality, equity, professionalism, value for money, transparency and accountability.

Public procurement is the process by which governments and other publicly-funded entities acquire goods, works, and services needed to implement public projects.

It’s important to appreciate the journey the country has taken in its effort to reform public procurement. From the 1960s where there was no formal procurement system, we moved to a system regulated by Treasury Circulars in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 and finally to the introduction of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act of 2015 and attendant Regulations of 2020 which ushered in new standards for procurement.

This was also in line with Article 227 of the Constitution which provides for procurement and asset disposal system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.

To further improve transparency and accountability, promote the  economy and simplify procurement procedures, Parliament further amended the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015 which resulted in the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) Act 2022. One of the key highlights of the amendments is that MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) are required to publish their approved annual procurement plans on their websites. National Treasury is also required to publish the plans in a centralised manner.

Publication of Annual Procurement Plans is a great first step towards increased transparency and efficiency. Such transparency will inform bidders a procuring entity’s requirements in advance thus help increase time for bidders to prepare for tenders, increase competition, reduce costs and malpractices.

The country has managed to develop a strong legal and institutional public procurement framework. Public procurement institutions, key among them The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, is mandated to ensure efficient and transparent procurement, encourage competition and accountability.

One of the notable achievements of PPRA is the publishing of tenders and contracts information on the Public procurement information portal on tenders.go.ke.

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board is mandated to Review, hear and determine tendering and asset disposal disputes. The Public Procurement Department (PPD), under the National Treasury, spearheads the development and execution of public procurement policies at both levels of government.

Some of the notable reform milestones include the ongoing development of a new and capable e-Government Procurement (e-GP) system, spearheaded by the PPD. The development of the e-GP system is partially supported by the Public Financial Management Reforms Secretariat under both the Governance for Enabling Service Delivery and Public Investments in Kenya and Public Accountability and Service Delivery Programme.

Some of the key functionalities of the e-GP system include annual procurement and disposal planning, tendering, registration of suppliers, contract management and publication of the annual procurement plans & contract details, monitoring of the payments and pending bills among others under phase one of the implementation. The pilot of the new system is scheduled for July.

The e-GP system will interface with other government systems such as IFMIS, I-tax, Business registration services (BRS) and public investment management information system which is aimed at improving decision making by government on capital expenditure of public funds.

The adoption of the Electronic Government procurement system will require capacity building aimed at equipping users with the skills and knowledge to operate the e-GP system. To the mwananchi, the system will result in improved efficiency in delivering services, reduced corruption and increased transparency.

— The writer is a communication expert

More on Opinion