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MoFED/PFMICP in collaboration with NPPA sensitize parliament on the review of the National Public Procurement Act 2004

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Saturday, 24 May 2014 15:58
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The Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project (PFMICP) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) in collaboration with the National Public Procurement Authority ( NPPA), has on Wednesday 24th May 2015 held a pre-legislative meeting with members of Parliament to review the National Public Procurement Act 2004 at Committee Room 1 in Parliament.

In his opening remarks the chairman of the program Hon Patrick L Kargbo, started by thanking the organizers for granting him the opportunity to serve as chair of the program. He went on to give the background information of the Public Procurement which led to the establishment of the Act in 2004. He recalled that due to the Country Procurement Assessment Review, series of recommendations relating to the legal framework was outlined which culminated in the startup of the review of Public Procurement Act 2004.

Welcoming participants to the Workshop the Chief Executive Officer of the National Public Procurement Authority ( NPPA) Brima Bangura, informed the Honorable members of Parliaments about the stages the review process have gone through, noting that they are not at the end point.

He further made it clear that after the pre- legislative sensitization , a supplementary documents will be developed which will make the Act stronger. He pointed out that three years ago he joined the NPPA, during which the World Bank, Government of Sierra Leone and the NPPA has already done a preliminary draft of the Revised Act, which was fine-tuned during a procurement stakeholders meeting at the Bank of Sierra Leone in June 2012.

He recalled that the stake holders at the time included MDAs, Local Councils, and Civil Society Organizations amongst others, adding that at that time they anticipated that the Act would be in parliament by August - September 2012, but it did not happen due to the electioneering process.

The NPPA Chief Executive Officer highlighted that the whole process started again when Dr. Kaifala Marah, took over as Minister of Finance and Economic Development. He Further explained the entire process they under took which eventually led to the Pre- Legislative Sensitization of Parliament on the Bill of Public Procurement Act.

Brima Bangura expressed appreciation to members of Parliament for their tremendous impact made in Sierra Leone, while assuring them that the Act presented to them went through various stages with so much scrutiny. He opined that the Procurement Act is one of the strongest in the sub region, making it clear that the revised Act will strengthen some areas and give more clarity to some others.

He concluded by extending thanks to the Minister of Finance and his cabinet colleagues and donor partners for sponsoring the program and to the just ended IPFMRP and PFMICP for funding previous and ongoing programs respectively. The Programme was sponsored through funds donated by donor partners, notably DFID, World Bank and AFDB.

In his presentation on the background to the Review, the head of Capacity Building at the National Procurement Authority Mr Mohamed J Musa, stated the following:

" That it is estimated that around 85 percent of the Sierra Leone national annual expenditure is in the direction of procurement, which makes procurement pivotal in the financial management of public funds in Sierra Leone. Public Procurement in Sierra Leone from 1963 to 2002 was centralized in the Ministry of Finance (Central Tender Board). In 2002 the need for reform was realized by the Government."

However with support from development partners, notably the UNDP, World Bank, EU and DFID, a steering Committee was set up in 2003, to oversee the reform process. This was the beginning of the first phase of the process. The next stage in the process was the halting of the procurement activities of the Central Tender Board, and its activities were taken over by a Steering Committee. UNDP/IAPSO provided strategic advice and management service to this Committee and a complete overhaul of the existing regulatory framework commenced.

In 2004, with the active involvement of Crown Agents of U.K, the Procurement Reform Secretariat and Civil Society undertook the drafting of the Interim Rules and Regulations, the Procurement Manual and the Standard Bidding Documents. In addition, the draft Public Procurement Act was finalized by Crown Agents in November 2004.

The Implementation of the second phase of the reform process commenced earnestly after 2004, following the enactment of the Public Procurement Bill on December 7th of that year. It was a comprehensive legislation designed to eliminate the short comings and organizational weaknesses inherent in public procurement in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, it was a direct response to the overall Governance Reform Programme in the country. The Act specifically applies to the procurement of goods, works and services by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government ( MDAs) and Local Councils through a competitive bidding process, including any procurement financed wholly or in part from public or donor funds. It also provided voice to service providers and a provision for disposal of public properties.

The Overall objective of the new public procurement system is to provide value for money to the government by ensuring that public funds are spent in a transparent, efficient and fair manner. The rationale here is that internally generated public revenue was grossly inadequate and so prudent spending; especially when the economy is largely donor-driven.

With the enactment of the Public Procurement Act 2004, procurement has been fully decentralized to spending entities. The Act has made provisions for the establishment of the National Public Procurement Authority, the fundamental function of which is to regulate, and harmonize decentralize public procurement process to all public entities.

After the implementation of the Public Procurement Act 2004 for over seven years, it became apparent that there was a need to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Procurement Legal Framework.

In additional, the Government of Sierra Leone proposed to the development partners a harmonization process with national procurement processes and procedures. This ultimately led to the conduct of the Country Procurement Assessment Review. The outcome of this assessment was a series of recommendations relating to the legal framework.

This is culminated in the startup of the review of Public Procurement Act 2004. The review process is in its advance stage of taking the draft document to Parliament, the national legislative body, for final enactment. To ensure a smooth ride within the shortest possible time, considering that the passing of the act is a trigger for donor support, all measures are to be taken to ensure the passing of the Draft Revised Public Procurement Bill. It is from this background that it has been found expedient that members of Parliament are vigorously taken through the document for it to get tabled in the well of parliament.

The objectives of the sensitization review include:

  • Parliamentarians fully understand the changes made in the public Procurement Act 2004.
  • The Revised Act be passed without any difficulty in parliament
  • A good effective and efficient Public Procurement Act is acquired in Sierra Leone
  • The harmonization of donor procurement procedure with that of the National Procurement system is facilitated
  • Weaknesses within the Legal Framework of the National Procurement system is reduced to the minimum."

Farid Alghali, the Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development made a Presentation of the draft proposed Amendments to the Public Procurement Act 2004.

About MOFED

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is a Key arm of the Government of Sierra Leone mandated to to formulate and implement sound economic policies and public financial management

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