Oct 15, 2009, 7:21 AM
The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), in partnership with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), Friday celebrated World Competition Day.
The day is observed on 5 December each year by competition agencies around the globe, which gives them the opportunity to highlight the benefits of competition to the economy and to society.
This year’s celebration held with the theme: “Competition Issues in Public Procurement”, also saw the two institutions hold a press briefing on their service delivery.
The event, held at the GCCPC office in Kotu, was followed by a march-past from Westfield to the Traffic-Lights at Kairaba Avenue.
The briefing discussed the institutions’ objectives in the promotion and protection of consumers’ rights, the challenges and achievements, as well as the need for improvement.
The institutions also revealed their service delivery expansion plans to reach consumers in other parts of the country, describing the media as a significant component in raising awareness of the consumers.
A joint statement issued by both institutions stated: “The occasion was in response to a campaign spearheaded by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) for adoption of World Competition Day to strengthen the focus on Competition Policy and Law at the international level.”
It stated further that the GCCPC’s mandate is to enforce the Competition Act 2007 to promote and maintain competition in the country.
They added that this year’s partnership was done with the GPPA, which is responsible for the regulation and monitoring of public procurement in The Gambia and the performance of procuring organizations to ascertain efficiency and compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and instructions.
The theme called on competition agencies to create awareness among relevant stakeholders regarding competition issues in the procurement process, and the need to support the competition authorities to meet the objective of public procurement.
“Efficient procurement is to buy the best possible goods and services at the lowest price; significant public spending takes place through the public procurement system, and a well-functioning procurement system ensures that money is used effectively on programmes and services by the government.
Indeed, up to 70 per cent of a government’s budget is spent through a public procurement process.
The document further highlighted the essence of effective public procurement to avoid mismanagement and waste of public funds, pointing out that public procurement policies are bound to affect the structure of the market and the behaviour of the firms in it, while the policies could determine the longer-term effects on competition in an economic sector.
Policy procurement is at the interface of the private and public sectors, which requires close cooperation between the two parties to achieve value for money, which also requires a sound stewardship of public funds to reduce the risk of corrupt practices, the statement noted.
It added that public procurement is also increasingly considered a core element of accountability to the public on the way public funds are managed, while the public financial management and public procurement are intertwined.
The collaboration between GCCPC and GPPA in celebrating World Competition Day is seen as a manifestation that the work of public procurement agencies and competition agencies are intrinsically linked, which calls for collective work for best results with respect to the economy and society.