Jan 3, 2013, 8:47 AM
Members of the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises (PAC/PEC) committees of the National Assembly on Monday gave the thumps-up to the annual activity reports and audited financial statements of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), for the year ended 31st December 2012.
Presenting the Authority’s activity report earlier on before deputies, Tumbul Danso, director general of the GPPA, told the PAC/PEC that public procurement is at the heart of business relations between government and the private sector, noting that such a relationship is actualized through public sector acquisition of goods, work services and consultancy services provided by the private sector.
According to him, the establishment of a credible public procurement reform system guided by a policy that posits value for money in government procurement, and the pursuance and achievement of the democratic ethos, transparency, accountability, and equal opportunity/fairness in the conduct of dispensation of public funds are imperative to the practice of good governance and, therefore, commendable on the part of government.
Speaking further, he informed PAC/PEC that the procuring organizations monitored by the GPPA’s mandate covers ministries, agencies, public enterprises, local government authorities or other units of the government and any of their sub-divisions thereof, as well as academics engaged in the dispensation of public funds.
The GPPA boss also said that the authority developed an implementation strategy, saying a measurement tool with an attendant scale was designed with a view to appraising the performance of respective procuring organisations, as well as the system-wide performance of the new dispensation.
“The GPPA strategy reflects its poise to intensify its monitoring mandate albeit severe constraints to effectively self regulate in organizations are frequently monitored for compliance,” he said, adding that the constraints experienced by the authority are further reinforced by the proliferation of procuring organizations on one hand and on the other, the authority’s inability to professionally train its technical staff of procurement to meet the growing demand posed by such proliferation.
During the year under review, he said GPPA received 184 requests for prior review. Out of this, he added, 62 requests were made on Restricted Tendering, 26 on Open Tendering, 75 on Single Source, 17 on Requests for Quotations and 4 on Request for Proposals respectively.
His words: “Out of the 184 requests made to the GPPA during the year under review, 133 transactions were approved, 2 requests disapproved and No Objection decision was taken on 49 requests. The No Objection decision is an expression that emanates from the World Bank guidelines depicting transactions for which procurements were already conducted prior to the submission for approval, and those that are conducted by the use of World Bank and/or other donors’ procurement procedures, as well as those that were conducted based on Executive Directives.”
While revealing that the monetary values dispensed as per procurement method in 2012 was D1, 037, 889, 407, he told deputies that the total amount spent by the procuring organisations that have submitted their monthly reports to the GPPA was D297, 516, 302,37.
A new scheme of service, the GPPA boss went on, has been developed and submitted to PSC for approval, for the Procurement Cadre. However, he said ,the scheme of service for the Procurement Cadre covers professionals and sub-professionals working in the procurement function of the Gambia government.
In its quest to meet the skills and competencies needed of the public procurement actors, especially those of the Procurement Cadre, the authority, he said, has proposed a training institute which shall begin its operations in the latter part of 2013.
He further explained that main purpose of its establishment is to build procurement capacity of contracts committee members and other procurement actors, including government ministries and relevant public enterprises and agencies, to increase their efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the procurement of goods, works, services and consultancy services funded in whole or in part by public funds, loans, credit, as well as grants made by foreign or local donors.
Highlighting some of the challenges that the GPPA is grappling with, he mentioned inadequate financing for the existing and envisage operations of the authority, including urgent training for key staff of the authority; inadequate capacity in terms of public procurement knowledge in the procuring organizations, insufficient staff to cope with the planned expansion of activities by the authority, and also expensive office rental accommodation.
On the way forward, he suggested the financial sustainability of the authority, to recruit additional staff, procure additional office vehicles to facilitate the proposed expansion programme, and the allocation of land to build its own corporate office.
The Gambia Public Procurement Authority was set up by statute enacted on 24th December 2011 and assented to by the President of the Republic on 1st February, 2002. He said two pieces of legislation governing procurement in The Gambia are namely, The Gambia Public Procurement Act, 2001 and The Gambia Public Procurement Regulation 2003.
“The GPPA’s mandate revolve around the cardinal objectives of the Act with the objectives of ensuring a transparent, efficient, economic procurement system that underscores accountability relative to the conduct of public procurement actors in dispensing public funds; preventing fraud, corruption, and other forms of malpractices in public procurement and improvement in social and economic capacity of the country,” Danso told deputies.
Presenting the audited financial statements before committee members, Ebrima Darboe, accountant at GPPA revealed that turnover for the GPPA jumped to D14, 274, 301 in 2012 compared to 2011, which was D10, 129, 720.
He also revealed that the government subvention to the institution was D11, 248, 000 in 2012 compared to D7, 150, 000 in 2011, while the total expenditure in 2012 was D12, 791, 219 compared to D8, 018, 638 in 2011. He added that GPPA’s deficit for the year under review was D1, 483, 082 compared to D1, 111, 082 in 2011.
Public Procurement Act compliance
Lamin K. Barrow, compliance officer at Gambia Public Procurement Authority revealed that the GPPA was not reviewed during the year under review, but was quick to state that all the procurement transactions were done in accordance with the public procurement Act and Regulations.
Members and subject matter specialists then asked questions, raised concerns, recommendations, and suggestions, which were responded to by officials of the GPPA. The reports were finally given a clean bill of health and adopted.