MORE than two-and-a-half years since the operationalising of the Public Procurement Act of 2015, the public procurement system is still under capacitated as 1 000 procurement officials are needed in different Offices Ministries and Agencies of government.
This was revealed at the launch of the 8th edition of the procurement tracker today.
Speaking at the event, research associate at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) Frederico Links stated that the public procurement unit is severely under capacitated and that it would take close to 10 years to professionalise the system.
He added that this is a serious concern for how the system functions into the future as significant capacity shortfalls at all levels of state could lead to the entrenching of highly questionable non-compliance practices and cultures and even the substantial corrupting of the system.
He added that there is a need for a new breed of procurement and a short-term strategy was developed to fill the gap which includes awareness sessions on the new system from 2014 to present, and face to face consultations between the public entities and procurement policy unit.
Links, however, stated that the short-term strategy indicated that a “much more realistic approach is necessary and it has to be conceded that it may not be possible to achieve professionalism among all the existing procurement staff.”
The medium-term plan of the CPB states that while the Certification Programme addresses the short-term requirements to ensure a smooth take off for the implementation of procurement reforms undertaken by the government, the professionalisation of the procurement and supply functions requires that officers should receive training on the professional aspects at tertiary level.
Links stated that that over the long-term local universities will start the Diploma and BSc courses in Procurement and Supply Management, as well as a Master Degree programme in Procurement and Supply Management, with focus on strategy, policy, leadership and managerial skills, and innovative practices
Links further stated that albeit governments rhetoric of transparency since the introduction of the new procurement act, the CBP does not publish critical information on the tender awarding process such as bid evaluation reports, and the value of tenders, although they are required to do so by law.
He added that to date, only 30% of government entities submitted procurement plans.