By Allieu Sahid Tunkara
Training for procurement officers from 130 Ministries, Departments and Agencies is on-going at Lotto Building at Tower Hill in Freetown. The training is meant to enhance procurement situation in public sector institutions across the country.
The training was informed by gaps identified by the Audit Report of 2018 in respect of procurement processes embarked upon by government over the years.
The training which is facilitated by the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) is expected to last for two weeks is based purely on the Procurement Manual launched a week ago.
It is hoped that procurement officials would acquire new attitude, knowledge and skills which they would apply to their various MDA’s when the training shall have completed.
Statements were made by various senior government officials before the training commenced yesterday. Making the key note address, Head of NPPA, Ibrahim Brima Swarray said the training was relevant to the day-to-day progress of Sierra Leone adding that if Sierra Leone is not made a better place, current and future generations will suffer.
“All decisions on procurement must be made on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone,” he urged.
NPPA Chief who is the principal adviser to government on procurement activities is optimistic of national development if due processes of procurement are followed. He hopes that strict compliance with procurement manual as well laws and rules, abnormalities in procurement activities would be eradicated.
Mr Swarray made reference to President Maada Bio’s statements during the 2018 campaign when he assured the people of Sierra Leone that he would ensure value for money by blocking leakages if given the permission to govern the state.
It is towards the realisation of the President’s objective, he went on, the procurement manual as well as the laws and rules of procurement were reviewed. Mr Swarray urged procurement officials to act within the confines of the laws to ensure judicial utilisation of state resources.
He however does rule out bringing to justice those who deliberately fail to adhere to the correct practice. Mr Swarray reminded participants of a direct relationship between NPPA and the Anti-Corruption Commission in ensuring value for money.
Ministry of Finance was represented by Deputy Director of Procurement, Foday Konneh who also made few remarks during the occasion. Mr Konneh also referred to the training manual as a core and reference point for procurement process undertaken by procurement professionals in MDA’s.
“You cannot be without the procurement manual as everything you do in your procurement activities is based on the manual,” he said.
Tracing a brief historical background of the manual, he told participants that the procurement the document was done in 2006, and that it was reviewed this year. It is hoped that the review will create an enabling environment for procurement professionals to meet current and accepted standards of procurement.
Seeing the review central to the procurement activities and processes, Mr Konneh appealed to all procurement officers including NPPA Monitoring Team to use the manual judiciously.
“It is challenging, but commitment will help us overcome the challenges,” Mr Konneh expressed hope. He concluded by urging participants to practicalise what they will gain from the training.
Chairman for NPPA Board, Alfred Kandeh also spoke on the importance of the procurement training. He told participants that the procurement manual was among several documents that form the basis of procurement practice in Sierra Leone.
“The procurement manual which was launched a week ago will serve as a guide in your procurement work,” he said.
Apart from his address on the training manual, Mr Kandeh also appealed to procurement professionals to contribute to the development of the procurement field by writing publishable articles.
“Procurement professionals must be in a position to publish on websites as a way of contributing to procurement,” he appealed.
The appeal for publication goes particularly to those pursuing post-graduate courses in procurement.
He also similarly encouraged the public to contribute to the country’s procurement development through procurement write-ups.