#Article (Archive)

GPPA needs tap on the back

Feb 5, 2015, 10:19 AM

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) has trained over 250 government officers in the country’s procurement system over the last six months, from especially the ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals including GPA, CBG, SSHFC and GCAA.

It is, on the other hand, planning to also train suppliers and contractors on ‘How to do business with Government’.

As part of its 2015 plan, the authority is also taking up the challenge of delivering training regionally to assist all officers not able to access training in Banjul.

These are laudable initiatives, to say the least, as the training demonstrates GPPA’s commitment to building the capacity of stakeholders of The Gambia public procurement system.

The GPPA, therefore, needs a tap on the back for this fruitful journey it has undertaken.

Procurement issues are very essential factors in public finance administration and management.

They involve a lot of intricacies and issues that warrant competency, honesty, trustworthiness, knowledge and experience among other abilities and characteristics.

Done well, public procurement helps a government meet its most essential needs; and if it goes the other way, the ramifications are just too insidious to fruitful public administration and good governance.

“There is wide agreement that significant public spending takes place through the public procurement system, and a well-functioning procurement system ensures that Government funds are used effectively to achieve efficiency and value for money in the delivery of programs and services by the government,” the GPPA itself recognised in a statement it released recently.

It stated that up to 70 per cent of a government’s budget is spent through a public procurement process.

This is a huge chunk of resources for national development, which needs to be used judiciously, to achieve value for money, which is why the GPPA has engaged and plans to continue conducting rigorous training for stakeholders in the public procurement system.

The Authority rightfully noted that delivery of value for money in public procurement in The Gambia can be assisted by a number of actions including: avoiding unnecessary purchases – procure only what is needed; focusing on competitive tendering for all procurements, and barriers to the participation of suppliers being removed.

Other actions, it recognised, include improving the management of inventory and assets to ensure government knows what it has and where, “so that a reallocation of resources rather than procurement should be the first consideration”, as well as ensuring that all procuring organisations are regularly assessed by GPPA.

In this laudable training initiative, it is also worthwhile to note that a strong wing by the sides of the GPPA is the European Union (EU), who are highly commended by the Authority for their support to its capacity building drive.

Unfortunately, many procurement officers make several key mistakes when purchasing goods and services for their departments and institutions that are inimical to growth and development, which is why the training initiatives being undertaken by the GPPA, with the support of the EU, need to be applauded and the institutions commended.

“Done well, public procurement helps a government meet its most essential needs.”

The Point