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Procurement

Government procurement enters electronic age

Government’s long-awaited electronic procurement portal (E-GP) is finally a reality. This is after government last week operationalised the portal, which is now accessible to the public and bidders. 

This means bid advertisements, documents, opening reports, evaluation executive summaries and notices of awards are now available online. 

As such, all public entities are required to use the portal in accordance with the stipulated E-GP guidelines.

A communiqué from the finance ministry noted the portal must be used by public entities for open national bidding, open international bidding processes, requests for sealed quotations and requests for proposals, including expressions of interest. 

E-procurement simply means the application of information, communication and technology (ICT) in the procurement process. 

“Therefore, the Procurement Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, developed, piloted and launched the Electronic-Government Procurement (E-GP) Website and portal during the 2021/22 financial year, which is stage one of the long-term strategy, and it is being implemented fully across the public sector as from 1 April 2022,” the finance ministry stated. 

The objectives of the E-GP Portal in public procurement are to improve transparency and accountability in the procurement process because public entities are required to upload approved annual procurement plans, bid adverts, bidding documents, bid opening reports, bid evaluations, executive summaries and notices of awards. 

This is to ensure a central point where all procurement opportunities and related documents and information can be accessed by both national and internal bidders; to improve the management of procurement data and inform policy decisions; to increase competition and achieve value for money, and to prepare the public sector for a comprehensive system, which will automate the entire procurement process.

In its progressive efforts towards socio-economic development in the country, government has undertaken public procurement reforms, which include, among others, the enactment of the Public Procurement Act, which came into effect on 1 April 2017. 

In terms of section two, the objectives of the Act are, among others, to promote integrity, accountability, transparency, competitive supply, effectiveness, efficiency, fair dealing, responsiveness, informed decision-making, consistency, legality and integration in the procurement of assets, works and services. 

Furthermore, section seven of the Act mandates the Procurement Policy Unit to advise the finance minister on policy for introducing e-procurement as a means of simplified and transparent procurement.