What you need to know:
- Mr Ramathan Ggoobi says government is seeking ways to fight corruption because it is no longer enough to speak about it
The reduced human interface in procurement processes will be a big achievement in the fight against corruption, Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary has said.
Speaking at the leadership awareness meeting on the electronic government procurement system, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the secretary to the Treasury and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, said the existing predominantly paper-based system lacks real-time information for planning and decision-making, has inefficient processes, has high process costs, has outdated market intelligence and is error-prone, which delays reforms in Public Sector Procurement to achieve value for money and enable effective and transparent use of public resources.
“A fully implemented [e-government procurement] system [will] generate significant efficiency gains and improve service delivery, reduce endemic delays in public procurement, minimise avenues for corruption through reduced human interaction, facilitate real-time access to business opportunities [and] minimize cost of doing business by eliminating manual paper-based procurement transactions,” he said, noting that the system will also increase bidder participation and enhance transparency in the public procurement and disposal processes.
Government has previously reported huge losses due to inefficient procurement and disposal processes with billions of money lost to corruption and system manipulations.
In 2022, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets unearthed glaring irregularities in 55 procurements by UNRA leading to loss of billions of shilling in two years.
In the PPDA report dated July 2021, and covering the period between 2018 and 2020, the audit concluded that UNRA’s procurement performance was “unsatisfactory”, with a 59.31 percent weighted average risk rating.
However, UNRA later said it had “adequately” answered queries related to road works raised by auditors from PPDA.
The e-government procurement system, which is a collaboration between the ministries of Finance and ITC, PPDA, NITA-U and the Accountant General, has already been deployed in 36 government entities and has in the last two years reported significant progress, amid Covid-19 related disruptions.
Mr Ggoobi said the tendency of just talking about corruption was not enough, noting that the e-government procurement system was part of the larger plan to control wastage of trillions of taxpayers’ money in poorly estimated procurement costs as well as improve government efficiency.
The system has been built to capture all activities and will be key in streamlining procurement transactions to reduce corruption.
Ms Florence Nakyeyune, the e-government procurement project manager, said there whereas the system was being used by some government agencies, it is being enhanced, which will be completed in the next two years.
However, she noted some stakeholders continue to be hesitant to own up the system because of the misconception that they are IT issues Some people think these are just IT systems, the system is procurement enhanced.
Time and again we have tried to get the procurement fraternity to own this up, but the misconception is this is for IT people," she said, noting that the e-government procurement system will make corruption difficult.