- Parliamentary approval likely to be delayed for several months
- Guidelines given Cabinet approval last September
- NPC had set sights on implementation from January 2020
- New guidelines will make procurement process speedy, transparent
By Chandani Kirinde
The fresh set of guidelines for the procurement of goods and services, work, consultancy services, and information systems by Government institutions, which were to come into effect from next year, will be delayed, official sources said.
The guidelines were approved by Cabinet in September and sent to Parliament, and were expected to be approved by the Legislature this month, but with the change in Government as well as the prorogation of Parliament, the process is likely to delayed by several more months.
“The first set of guidelines were published in 2018 and as the Finance Ministry wanted some changes, they were redone and published in the Gazette in October this year. We were hoping for parliamentary approval in December so that they can be implemented from January next year,” official sources at the National Procurement Commission (NPC) said.
The new guidelines by the NPC are to replace the 2006 guidelines and were to come into force within 30 days of receiving parliamentary approval.
“We have gone through an exhaustive process to prepare these guidelines, which provide for speedy and transparent means for State sector procurement. We have even done a legal review to ensure that these guidelines do not impinge on other existing laws,” officials said.
The guidelines have been complied in keeping with international best practices, and are incorporated with provisions for the use of electronic technology to attract more bidders, as well as to evaluate bids so that much of the irregularities that take place within the current procurement system are eliminated.
The guidelines require the Government procurement process to ensure, among other things, transparency and accountability, provide fair, equal, and maximum opportunity for eligible interested parties to participate in procurement, and promote human wellbeing and support sustainable development by promoting environmentally-friendly procurement, while optimising resource utilisation and minimising the negative impact on the environment.
The guidelines also require regular publishing of procurement data in accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), and enhanced stakeholder trust and confidence during the entire procurement process.
The guidelines, which constitute national policy and are mandatory and applicable to all procurements carried out by Government institutions, also address measures to prevent fraudulent and corrupt practices that take place during the procurement process.
All policy- and decision-makers, officials, bidders, contractors and suppliers, subcontractors, service providers, agents or any of their personnel are bound by the guidelines to the highest standards of ethics during the procurement process and contract execution, and are required to be free from corrupt, fraudulent, collusive, coercive and obstructive practices.
If the existence of corrupt practices is confirmed through a formal inquiry, sanctions, including debarment from that procurement process or eligibility for future procurements will be imposed on bidders, contractors, and officials, and could additionally be reported to the respective authorities for appropriate action.
The procurement guidelines have been complied by the NPC, which was set up under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution for the purpose of formulating fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective procedures and guidelines for the procurement of goods and services, works, consultancy services etc.