Procuring and disposing of public assets will not be conducted in the usual way until the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) and related threats are properly contained.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) spokesperson, Ms Sylvia Kirabo, the public procurement prefect in the country will try as much as possible to limit physical interaction in the course of its duty as a way of minimising the spread of the pandemic.
At the same time, PPDA is also mindful of their responsibilities, considering that procurement function is one of government's key business that involve interface between public officials and the business community.
In a March 24, 2020 letter authored by the PPDA Executive Director, Mr Benson Turamye, and directed to all Accounting Officers in the country, titled: Circular on Emergency Measures on Handling Procurement Activities in Procuring and Disposing Entities, cautioned against pre-bid meetings and site inspections.
The letter noted that all entities should suspend pre-bid meetings. As a result bidders will be expected to raise any queries resulting from the bidding documents or seek clarifications in writing or by email.
Responses to clarifications shall be copied to all potential bidders by email. Where pre-bid meetings involve site inspections, the entities should schedule bidders to visit the sites in smaller groups of not more than seven bidders at a time.
As for bid opening, it shall be opened in the presence of not more than seven bidder’s representatives, while observing a distance of two metres away from each other. The results of bid opening shall be communicated by respective PDEs to the bidders by email; or any other acceptable electronic means or by phone.
President Museveni on March 18, 2020 addressed the nation on the measures that the government of Uganda has put in place to reduce the potential of spreading of the COVID-19 virus.
In that respect, Mr Turamye in his letter noted that bid submissions shall be submitted in hard copy or in soft copy. And where international bidders are not able to submit in hardcopy, they should give unconditional Powers of Attorney to a local representative to submit their bids.
It also became obvious that procuring and disposing entities may opt to extend the bid submission deadlines in exceptional circumstances where there is no urgency. There shall be no travel for pre-shipment Inspections. The inspections shall be conducted through video conferencing.
Further, Procuring and Disposing Entities will conduct these meetings as usual but shall minimize the numbers in attendance to not more than five. The staff should be positioned in a space of two meters away from each other during the meetings, amongst other measures as advised by the Ministry of Health.
“These guideline have been issued because we don’t want to disrupt the service delivery process but mindful of the safety of both the public servants officials and the business community that are involved in the procurement and disposal process,” Sylvia Kirabo PPDA Spokesperson.
Administrative Reviews: Administrative Review complaints will be made by email on email@example.com. No hearings will be held, but the parties will be expected to make written submissions by email to the Authority or to the PDEs.
Registration on the PPDA Register of Providers (ROP): Bidders will be expected to register on line and submit all the requisite documentation to the Authority. The Authority will process the certificates and sends them to the providers by email. Bidders will confirm their registration status on www.ppdaproviders.go.ug.
Procurement and Disposal Audits: The Authority will conduct procurement audits with limited number of auditors to the PDEs
Exit meetings: Exit meetings will continue to be undertaken by the Authority and participation will be limited to three PDE staff, to include the Accounting Officer, Head PDU and a member of the Contracts Committee.
Training activities: The Authority has suspended both demand and supply driven training interventions in the PDEs.