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Ministry of Finance seeks to enhance public procurement compliance

Dec 15, 2015, 10:16 AM | Article By: Nyockeh and Yai Dibba

The Directorate of Public Procurement under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Monday started a four-day training of deputy permanent secretaries and heads of account units of various ministries and government agencies on public procurements ethics among other related issues.

The forum, under way at NaNA conference hall in Kanifing, is designed to raise the level of public procurement compliance.

Omar Baldeh, director of public procurement at the Ministry of Finance, said the forum seeks to increase the participants’ knowledge and understanding of The Gambia Public Procurement Act, the legal document guiding all public procurement transactions in the country.

He said there will also be discussion on issues surrounding the submission to the Major Tender Board and the new developments happening in the field of public procurement.

Mr Baldeh said most of the procurement audit queries are as result of either not understanding procurement procedures or not giving the procurement officers their rightful duties.

“I am of the belief that if we all fully understand the rules and regulations governing the procurement operations, this will go a long way in enhancing a sound public finance management,” he said.

Lalo Danso, senior manager of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said the forum is in recognition of the important role that public procurement plays in the governance of any nation, especially developing countries like The Gambia.

He said the forum will help to share experience on the observations and recommendations of the joint sessions of the Public Accounts Committee and Public Enterprises Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly.

He said participants will also be taken through major changes made in the procurement act and its attendant regulations so that the public procurement system can move forward.

Mr Danso said that at the advent of GPPA in 2003, there has been a number of compliance issues outlined as the main areas of challenges bedeviling institutions in their conduct of public procurement.

“These challenges include ethical, moral and sustainability issues, and training and education for qualified and unqualified persons who are engaged in the business of public procurement,” he said.

“With the intervention of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority, remarkable improvements have been registered and more can still be made if, among other things, the challenges outlined are seriously considered by the appropriate authorities for redress,” he added.

Tijan Jobe, executive secretary of Major Tender Board, said the four-day training will go a long way in enhancing appreciation of the impact of procurement in the management of the public funds.