By Ralph Sesay
A World Bank Mission which has quite recently completed a visit to Sierra Leone has expressed their resounding satisfaction at the continuous reforms at the National Public Procurement Authority.
The Mission was in the country between the 28th and 29th November, 2019 to do an assessment of Sierra Leone’s Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project (PFMICP).
The NPPA was rated satisfactorily by the World Bank Mission for robustly pushing through the introduction of the Public and Electronic Procurement System in the country.
They particularly noted that, there were impressed with the performance around the sub component objective of the Authority in the PFMICP project which relates to the continuous strengthening of the institutional capacity of the procurement function as part of overall procurement reform agenda in the country.
They have rated the Authority as completely satisfactory around this key project sub component objective.
The Authority was rated satisfactorily around this key benchmark largely due to the fact that, they have completed the recruitment of a Director for the e-Governance Procurement Directorate.
The newly recruited e-Governance Procurement Director according to the mission report is critical in updating the E-Governance Action Plan of the NPPA.
The World Bank Mission has also observed that, the NPPA as part of the agreed actions from the first mission assessment to the country from the 7th to 19th, July ,2019 has also been able to amend the Public Procurement Regulations for the e-procurement process; shared it with the relevant legal state players, submitted to Parliament and now awaiting enactment.
Others critical areas in which the Authority was applauded had included progressive reforms on general routine procurement regulations such as provision of quarterly norms; drafting of legal amendments to sanction the use of price norms as a policy in accordance with section 14 (2) for MDA’s and other public enterprises; revision of standardized bidding documents and the signing of an evaluation report for the development of a procurement and contract management database among others.
The Chief Executive of the NPPA has once noted that, it is the vision of President Bio to sanitize public procurement by introducing progressive reforms thereby creating a situation wherein Sierra Leoneans will have value for money in the Public Procurement process.
With little above one year at the helms of affairs at the NPPA, the Chief Executive has mainly concentrated in studying best practices in countries where e-procurement has succeeded and also strengthening the capacity and legal frameworks of the Authority towards the introduction of an e-procurement system in the country.
He has praised the high level of political will from President Bio and also the technical and financial support from the World Bank towards realizing the deliverables of the project.
He is confident that the introduction will curtail the wastages and leakages inherent in the Public Procurement sector by 50%.
By Ralph Sesay