Government has created a framework that will permit Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to monitor public contracts to enhance transparency.
With over 350 Procuring and Disposing Entities (PDEs) under its supervision, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) is constrained by resources to efficiently supervise and monitor public contracts.
The Authority in partnership with GIZ is forging a collaboration with CSOs to take up some responsibility in holding PDEs to account in contract processes.
“Considering that some CSOs are mandated to enhance accountability, transparency and advocacy, among others, engaging them in monitoring of public procurement and disposal of public assets is anticipated to contribute to improved accountability and transparency for better service delivery,” Mr Benson Turamye, executive director PPDA, said.
According to the framework, participation will be at the discretion of the CSOs and no financial remuneration will be provided.
However, participating CSOs will be expected to enter formal arrangements with PDEs to ease monitoring processes.
CSOs will also be obliged to provide PPDA and PDEs vital information for advancing transparency including reports, findings and recommendations that may be considered by the former parties.
CSOs, PPDA says will seek for clarifications from both PPDA and PDEs during contract monitoring as well as make proposals on policy matters among others.
However, concerns were raised by PDEs on some tenets in implementing the framework.
“My understanding is that the individual CSOs will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with PPDA. Is there a mechanism in place for coordination of CSOs? I am afraid as a PDE, we may be overwhelmed with requests for information on documents for various CSOs over the same issues?” Mr Daniel Otulu from Ministry of Water and Environment inquired.
CSBAG, a Civil Society Organisation urged PPDA to ensure quick response from PDE’s which were faulted for reluctance to cooperate and implement proposals suggested.
The framework, civil society also asked, should widen the scope of responsibilities allowed to them (CSOs) beyond contract monitoring to all procurement processes since they are also pertinent in service delivery.
Mr Turamye in response to the queries said PPDA will undertake capacity building of the CSOs to equip them with the necessary skills for contract monitoring.
The framework comes at a point when the country is implementing big contracts especially in infrastructure development such as roads, airports and hydro dam construction.