In his unwavering commitment to ensuring value for money through procurement, Head of National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA), with senior procurement officials, has launched the fourth quarter price norm, 2020.
The price norm is a collection of prices for items used by procurement entities in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s). The norm is a guide to all procurement practitioners as it enables them to know the prevailing price for various goods and services in the market.
It is hoped that knowledge about the current prices of commodities will block financial leakages that hallmark the procurement industry years back. During the launching ceremony, NPPA Chief Ibrahim Brima Swarray explained the benefits the price norm will bring to the country if properly implemented and complied with.
“The price norm is about saving the nation’s resources by ensuring value for money. The filed of procurement should be an entity that the people of Sierra Leone should rely on to move the country forward,” Mr Swarray maintains.
The NPPA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) also assured the people of Sierra Leone that launching of the price norm “is no witch-hunting,” but consolidating professionalism in the business of procurement.
Mr Swarray also made it clear that the cooperation of procurement officers in all MDA’s is highly needed for the development of Sierra Leone. He cautions procurement Professionals to maintain integrity at all times so that the lust for money does not sway them from the right objectives.
“Do not use procurement process as a money-making venture. We [procurement officers] must move from our comfort zones to make the nation proud,” Mr Swarray appealed.
Ibrahim Brima Swarray, NPPA C.E.O
The NPPA CEO is of the conviction that auditors will not have problems if procurement officers do the right thing.
“I will like to see colleagues do the best for the country,” he appealed.
He also warned that he would not hesitate by legal means to force procurement officers to do the right thing in an event of non-compliance. The NPPA Chief also warned that he would not hesitate to reject any document that fails to comply with the ethics, rules and regulations laid down for procurement processes and activities.
Assurances about discussions bordering om what procurement officials want to see in the near future was also made by the NPPA Chief. Mr Swarray also noted that he would provide the necessary back-up and guidance for procurement officers who move along the path of professionalism and integrity.
In what appears a further strengthening of the call for hard work and integrity, Mr Swarray informed procurement officers that he passed all indicators identified by the World Bank, one of the country’s leading development partners.
He also assured that he had a strong intention and passion to make the procurement profession enviable.
“NPPA has a lot in the pipeline that if unveiled, procurement profession will be an envy in the country,” he assured.
While insistently calling on procurement officers to do what is right, Mr Swarray defines the concept of New Direction saying, it is about putting the country above self.
He also informed the audience that a Code of Ethics for procurement officials is being prepared and hopes ride high that the code will enhance responsibility among procurement officers when finalised.
In his address, NPPA Chief also warned procurement officers to stop doing business with business organisations and entities named in the Government White Paper pending the outcome of the appeals process.
He referred the procurement officers to a notice put out by NPPA which, he says, contains a list of public entities barred from doing business with government entities.
NPPA Chief’s warning is another clear move to save the country’s resources considering adverse findings made against business entities for alleged involvement into financial improprieties that cost the country dearly.
In his contribution, Deputy Director, Procurement Directorate, Foday Konneh says how procurement officers tailor their work to the pace at which NPPA moves remains a fundamental issue in the procurement profession.
Mr Konneh drew a nexus between the pace at which NPPA moves and its role in the procurement world.
“Apart from its regulatory function, NPPA creates an enabling environment for procurement to thrive in the country,” he says.
In the realisation of its objective, he continues, NPPA provides public education and training for procurement officers so that they are kept abreast about what current trends in the sector.
Making reference to previous effort made by NPPA in making the procurement profession ethical, Mr Konneh commended the procurement regulator, NPPA for their unflinching support to procurement entities in MDA’s.
NPPA, he says, has added value to the price norm noting that few months back, the agency launched the procurement bulletin to inform the public about the latest development in the country’s procurement.
“Since the business community is not familiar with the procurement legal instruments, NPPA officials have been travelling up-country to educate the people about trends in the profession,” he said.
Mr Konneh also called on procurement officers to ensure that prices for goods and services conform to the price norm, and that the document must be used to do all procurement transactions.
NPPA Chairman, Ahmed Turay who made few remarks referred to the launching as a “great occasion.”
Mr Turay said price norm publication is about adding ideas and innovations to make the procurement field ethical and professional.
Price norm, he said, started as a little publication in 2005 following a decision to ensure that procurement entities know the prevailing prices for goods and services in the market for a particular period.
What started as a little publication, he says, has today become a solid publication noting that a lot of progress has been achieved in the “procurement pathway.”
While commending the NPPA Chief for his great strides in the procurement world, he called on procurement officers to contribute to the publication to make their voices heard.
He also urged them to treat the price norm with sacredness, and makes constant reference to it in their procurement management.
The launching of the 4th quarter price norm marks another giant and bold step taken by NPPA to ensure wise and prudent use of the country’s finances.
The launching is another indicator that the agency has come a long way and the country has seen so much in NPPA’s move to save national finances.
In blocking leakages and wastages through the use of correct procurement methods, NPPA saved the country a whooping sum of Le 12, 767, 921, 765 (Twelve Billion, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Seven Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand, Seven hundred and Sixty Five Leones) the equivalent of USD1, 286, 926.43 during the first half of 2020.
NPPA achieved such an impressive inroad through rigid monitoring and review of procurement processes.
However, much more remains to be done if Sierra Leone must be lifted from the doldrums of poverty and development.
In that direction, the utmost and sincere cooperation of procurement professionals and stakeholders in MDA’s is solicited by NPPA.