Sep 7, 2016, 10:36 AM
The meeting, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, aimed to develop a skills-based training strategy for procurement officials.
This assessment was carried out as a preliminary step towards achieving result 6 of the project-support capacity-building at the level of procuring organisations.
Speaking at the ceremony, Omar B. Baldeh, Director of Public Procurement at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the importance of the meeting to the socio-economic development of The Gambia, in general, and the advancement of Public Procurement, in particular, could not be overemphasised.
He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is very much appreciative of the EU Longterm Consultancy’s commitment in their strife towards the development of the public procurement profession, which is a cornerstone for socio-economic development of any nation.
“Globalisation in the 21st century has brought the whole world into one village where, unless we possess the right tools, prosperity will pass by,” he added.
It is an open secret that the required skills, knowledge and attitude in public procurement are becoming scarce by the day, he stated, adding that the provision of these knowledge and skills is a daunting task on government, which has limited resources.
As such, the Finance ministry would open its arms to welcome any development partner that would contribute to its attainment, he said.
“It is through partnership that we can contribute our small parts and reap the benefits of every partner’s efforts; avoid duplication of development interventions; accelerate learning of best practices and, above all, increase impact on our overarching development goals.”
The Finance ministry would endeavour to nurture and share common vision and purpose among development partners that would build trust and openness, recognise the values and contributions of each and everyone, Baldeh added.
Procurement is now a profession that drives all development projects, he said, adding that the Gambia government had recognised the importance of this profession, and had created the Directorate of Public Procurement under the Ministry of Finance tasked with the coordination of all procurement activities within the government.
He said to fulfill this task, the ministry requires highly-trained and competent personnel in the field of procurement.
Mr Baldeh said the public procurement competency assessment report the consultant presented would identify the competency gaps of the procurement actors, and highlight the areas they urgently needed to strengthen to be more effective in the delivery of their national duties.
As a ministry, they are cognizant of the fact that the availability of qualified and competent professionals in procurement is a necessity in the attainment of value for money, he said.
Mr Baldeh added that the availability of such capacity is one of the several opportunities the ministry would welcome to ensure continuous socio-economic progress of the country.
According to him, the objective of coming together is to further discuss issues presented and reach a consensus, and finalise commitments and agreements within the spirit of respective institutions.
He thanked the EU Longterm Consultancy on behalf of the government for their financial support in conducting the Public Procurement Competency Assessment for the country.
Speakers on the occasion included Kebba Sallah from GPPA and Olivier Baranouin from the EU Longterm Consultancy, who both highlighted the importance of the meeting.