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Commonwealth Continues to Strengthen Public Procurement in The Gambia

Jun 30, 2009, 7:42 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Mr. Kaifala Marah, an adviser on public finance in the Governance and Institutional Development Division (GIDD) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is on a visit to the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA).

Mr. Marah who provides technical advice and assists with institutional capacity building in public finance is the brain behind the Commonwealth Public Procurement Network (CPPN).

The CPPN is a forum of procurement oversight agencies that operate under the auspices of GIDD for the sharing of country experiences and the emergence of best practices.

The focus of Mr. Marah's visit is to address the challenges facing ministries and agencies in The Gambian public sector in adopting an effective asset disposal framework to limit waste in public expenditure.

The visit is an outcome of a Commonwealth sponsored study tour conducted by the GPPA to the Kenya Public Procurement Oversight Authority, with the aim of sharing country's practice, and to devise a strategy in reducing waste in public spending, especially when developing countries are facing the pinch of the global economic crisis. Speaking to the press, Dr Amadou Kebbeh, the Director General of the GPPA said "There is no better time to instil fiscal discipline in the manner in which assets are disposed of by institutions than now. It is about time that we start going down the same route as our sister governments in the African region; the time is ripe for us as in Kenya and Botswana, to define how goods purchased with tax-payer money are being managed and disposed of in a prudent manner and in tandem with international best practice", he concluded.

Mr. Marah is also assisting the GPPA to draw up an integrated programme for the setting up of a Procurement Complaints Review Board, which will include capacity-building and sustainable skills development of other units of the GPPA. Following his preliminary discussions with senior management of the GPPA, Mr Marah said, "As the global economic crisis continues to evolve, every leadership within the Commonwealth should be thinking of ways and means in which integrated asset management systems can be introduced and sustained.

The question that should be asked by bureaucracies is: what is the overall value of government assets; have we got a strategy on how to manage and dispose of assets?" Mr Marah therefore commended the GPPA for thinking ahead of the game and said that the Commonwealth will continue to engage the oversight body in taking forward this initiative. He said GIDD assistance will come in the form of training and technical advice to enable the GPPA to improve financial governance in The Gambia.