The amendments to the Public Procurement Act (Cap. 410) intend, among other things, to review institutional arrangement and responsibilities within procuring entities in order to reduce costs and increase efficiency; to set legal requirement on the use of Government approved standards.
The amendments also seek to set legal requirement enhancing transparency and accountability in procurement system and legal requirement enhancing special groups including women, youth, elderly and persons with disabilities to participate in public procurement undertakings.
Furthermore, the proposed amendments intend to increase efficiency in public procurement by minimizing procurement transaction costs and processing time.
The review also seeks to improve procurement of goods and services reflecting prevailing market prices, enjoy benefits such as bulky procurement accruing from use of standardized requirements, minimize corruption loopholes and increase accountability in procurement.
In the Bill, the government has introduced a new section which sets out general public procurement principles in order to achieve value for money spent. It also proposes amendment to sections 6(2), 9, 10, 18, 20, 23 and 25 in order to clarify the responsibilities of the institutions involved in public procurement process so as to increase efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
The Bill‘s clause 11 proposes to amend section 31 with a view to harmonize the public procurement process between central and local government while clause 12 proposes to amend section 35 in order to reduce the time taken for procurement processing by excluding the requirement for the accounting officer to seek prior approval of the tender Board before signing procurement contract.
Clause 13 proposes to amends section 36(1) to require procuring entities to submit to the authority details of procurement contracts awarded, annual procurement plans for the next financial year, list of tenderers proposed to be declared ineligible and adds requirement for submission of electronic infrastructure so as to ensure transparency and efficient reporting.
Clause 14 proposes to introduce a new section 46A which provides for the requirement for witnessing the signing of contracts.
Clause 17 proposes to amend section 50 with a view to reduce cost by departing from the requirement to procure through closed framework agreement which dictates their being agreed prices set forth by the Services Agency, instead amendment makes provisions that allow open framework agreement without the need of agreed price by the Service Agency.
According to the Bill, Clause 18 proposes to add new sections 55A, 55B, 55C and 55D so as to engage local firms in procurement that involve foreign firms, the use of domestic manufactured goods and related services in international competitive tendering and building capacity to local firms in procurement undertakings.
Clause 19 in the Bill proposes to amend section 59 by deleting subsection (6) which makes requirements of approval of rejections by the Authority. The amendments aim at reducing time constraints in procurement process.
Clause 20 in the Bill proposes to amend section 60 by reducing the number of days for lodging of complaint under subsection (3). The Bill further proposes to delete subsection (4) with a view to reduce time constraint occasioned through scrutiny of tenders by local government authorities.
Clause 21 proposes to amend section 63 by transferring the contents of that section to the proposed new section 4A, and in its place introduce provisions on e-procurement with a view to control corrupt practices and maximize efficiency, transparency, integrity and accountability.
Clause 22 proposes to amend section 64 so as to make it mandatory for procuring entities, when selecting procurement methods for the benefit of achieving certain social objectives, to consider special groups including women, youth, elderly and persons with disabilities.
According to the Bill, Clause 23 proposes to amend section 65 so as to make better clarity of certain provisions. The Section is further amended by deleting subsections (3) and (4) with a view to reduce time constraint and enhance efficiency in emergency procurement process.
Clause 24 of the Bill proposes to introduce a new section 65A to make provisions that affords procuring entities to procure goods directly from manufacturers and wholesalers or service provider so as to obtain value for money.
The Bill further introduces a new section 65B to make provisions for approved procurement standards.
Clause 25 proposes to amendment section 73(5) of the Act to make proper clarity of the provision.
Clause 26 proposes to amendment section 76(2) by deleting paragraphs (c) and (d). The amendment aims at allowing procuring entities to negotiate prices during process of award of contract.
Clauses 28 proposes to amend subsections (2), (3) and (4) of section 83 to enable the Authority, upon receipt of recommendations by the procuring entities, to make declaration for debarment period against tenderers and their directors who are determined to have engaged in corrupt, fraudulent and coercive practices in procurement process. The amendment aims at regulating fairness of actionable measures.
Clauses 29 to 31 propose to amend sections 88, 89, 91 with a view to enhance good governance and avoidance of dual role within the institutional framework of the Authority, and to make better clarification of the provisions.
Clause 32 proposes to amend section 93(1) so as to provide the requirement to submit report to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for Finance. The amendment is aimed at enhancing accountability.
Clause 33 proposes to amend section 95 by deleting subsection (3). The amendment aims at curing conflicting provisions within the section.
Clause 34 proposes to amend section 96(4) and (6) of the Act so as to reduce time to lodging complaints to accounting officer from 28 days to 7 days.
The amendments further require the accounting officer to make decisions against complaints within seven days.
Clause 35 of the Bill proposes to amend section 97 with a view to shorten the time frame of review of appeals by Appeals Authority and add remedies to be awarded by the Appeals Authority.
Clause 36 of the Bill proposes to amend section 99 so as to reduce time and cost of occasioned of complaints by unsuccessful tenderers.
Clause 37 proposes to amend section 101 so as to make better provisions of procedures for judicial review of complaints by parties who are government institutions or corporation.
Clause 38 proposes to amend Section 105 so as to mandate the Minister to make Regulations for procurement for commercial use by public entities and emergency procurement procedures.