May 20, 2009, 8:39 AM
The graduation ceremony was facilitated by the EU-funded project to support the implementation of PFM reforms in procurement in The Gambia.
The budget of the project is €1.1 million, equivalent to D48 million.
The graduation ceremony was the second held by GPPI under its Public Procurement Training System (PPTS) Programme.
The PPTS is supported by the EU as part of an effort to support capacity building of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) and procuring organisations (POs).
Under the programme, the graduates are strategically placed with POs, including ministries, departments, and public enterprises where most of them are absorbed as permanent procurement officers.
Omar B. Baldeh, director of procurement, in his remarks, said the role of the graduating students in the transformation of procurement in the country would go a long way in attaining the required level of compliance in public procurement.
He added that the principal responsibility of the graduating students will be to uphold the principles of public procurement, and increasing value for money in procurement.
“The greater part of our public funds is spent on either the procurement of goods, works or services and it is, therefore, imperative to build the capacity of those people under whose hands and guidance these monies are expended.”
Mr Baldeh said a sound procurement system is based on four fundamental pillars, which are: legislative and regulatory framework; institutional framework and management capacity; procurement operations and market practices; and integrity of public procurement.
Kebba A.M. Sallah, training coordinator, in his statement, said the training policy of the institute delineates strategies to develop the procurement profession through graduated training programme, and reduce the discrepancy between current capacity of procurement staff of all public POs in The Gambia and the competence levels desired for the successful operation of the public procurement system.
He stated that the objectives of the training policy align with the objectives of the Public Procurement Act (2014).
Emphasis is placed on training individual procurement officers in planning and implementing strategies and actions necessary to: ensure the maintenance of a transparent, efficient and economic public procurement system; provide a fair opportunity for all prospective suppliers of goods, works and consultancy services; prevent fraud, corruption and other malpractices in public procurement; improve social and economic capacity in The Gambia by providing opportunities for local small and medium enterprises and individuals to participate in an economic and professional manner as suppliers, contractors and subcontractors in the public procurement arena; and to develop the procurement profession against the backdrop of the current inadequate training capacity in The Gambia.
The chairman of GPPA board of directors, Alhaji Ebrima Dondeh, said the training activity was designed to impact knowledge and skills required for improving the skills and competence level, required for the successful operation of the Gambia Public Procurement System.
GPPI would continue to promote training programmes, as well as access to impact on such programmes to improve on them, he added.
Lamin Camara of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the achievement of the graduating students is significant in the development agenda of the nation.
He urged graduates to keep up to date with procurement as their employers will require support and advice from them on the proper Procurement Act and regulations to ensure value for money is achieved.
He further called on them to be watchdogs and good examples in public procurement.
Mr Joslin, who represented the European Union Ambassador at the function, said the project is part of the wider EU-funded “Governance Programme in The Gambia” of €10 million (equivalent to 440 million Dalasi), which includes access to justice and legal education, journalism and the media, and public financial management.
Deserving students were awarded with scholarships to pursue their diploma level training, as well as a cash voucher to spend on books at Timbooktoo Bookshop.