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IS IT TIME TO THINK OF DEACTIVATING TENDER BOARDS AND INTRODUCING A MECHANISM OF PROCUREMENT PROFESSIONAL OPINION, THE KENYAN STYLE?

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IS IT TIME TO THINK OF DEACTIVATING TENDER BOARDS AND INTRODUCING A MECHANISM OF PROCUREMENT PROFESSIONAL OPINION, THE KENYAN STYLE?

Post  Michael Chilongani on Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:39 am

[Under Institutional arrangement set forth in the Tanzania Public Procurement Act (2011) as amended (2016), the Tender Board is a key approving authority with functions as prescribed under Section 33 which include (inter alia) deliberation on the recommendations from the Procurement Management Unit and approval of award of contracts, review all applications for variations, addenda or amendments to ongoing contracts, approval of tendering and contract documents; approval procurement and disposal by tender procedures and ensuring that best practices in relation to procurement and disposal by tender are strictly adhered by procuring entities

As a matter of emphasis, no procurement transaction is completed without obtaining prior approval of the Tender Board from initiation of tender up to award of the same. The accounting Officer has functions as prescribed under section 36.

Having made an overview on the institutional set up on the Kenyan side, I noted that our neighboring Country had similar style on establishment of Tender Committees (same as Tender Boards for the Tanzanian case) as approving authorities before the operationalization of the new public procurement act of Kenya (2015).

The New Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015  of Kenya which came into effect on 07th January 2016 through Treasury Circular No. 02/2016 of 29th March 2016 (Regulations still at drafting stage) deactivated Tender Committees (or simply omitted them) and a new mechanism of Procurement professional opinion introduced.

Pursuant to a requirement under section 86 of the PPAK/2015, upon receiving the evaluation report, the Head of Procurement Management unit review the tender evaluation report and provide a signed professional opinion to the Accounting Officer on the procurement or asset disposal proceedings. In making a decision to award a tender, the Accounting Officer shall take into account the views of the head of procurement in the signed professional opinion referred to in subsection (1).

To my opinion, the new arrangement is likely to result into a major benefit of time saving and reduced tender processing time. In an effort to ensure procurement are fast tracked, Tanzania made amendment in some provisions of the Public Procurement Act (2011) as amended (2016) related to mandatory tender processing time and cool of periods in which tender processing time by Bidders were reduced under different categories of procurement. However, with the institutional arrangement that requires successive approvals by Tender Boards in each and every stage, I am tempted to believe that not much time saving is really achieved on grounds that the necessary and mandatory approvals drag back the process.

It is high time for the Tanzanian side to start pondering down and rethink of the pros and cons and thereafter consider mimicking the arrangement from neighbors which again have an advantage of making Accounting Officers to assume the direct role of approving Authority (not through Tender Boards).

To my opinion, (once adopted and if deemed necessary), Accounting Officers may form advisory committees to perform advisory functions to him/her, but such should not operate under the current institutional set up and same should not be construed to be approving Authority.

Back in 2010 I made a comment in PPRA forum on how lengthy is the procurement process of which efforts to redress the same were made through reduction in tender processing time by Bidders in the act amendment. I think it is high time we start thinking of other avenues including institutional arrangement for the purpose of achieving best results.

From practical experience, there are hassles in obtaining Tender Board approvals in issues which are sometimes very straight forward and convening meeting by people who have different duties and responsibilities is not without challenges especially when such officials are of a view that Tender Board activities are merely additional duties.

One may think that alternative approvals through Circular Resolution is a solution but alas! The feedback from practicing professionals will unveil the challenges. Think of a situation whereby you circulate a paper with award recommendations and the last member (to form a quorum) raises an inquiry on whether such requirement still exist! So you have to resubmit it for deliberation in the next meeting scheduled next two months after which the Board deliberate and refer it back for reconfirmation by User Department.]

This topic thus try to stir a debate on avenues for streamlining procurement processes including a consideration for deactivating Tender Boards for the purpose of achieving effeteness in procurement processes.

Chilongani Jan. 2018
This post is also available at http://michaelchilongani.blogspot.com/

Michael Chilongani

Posts : 32
Join date : 2009-10-20

View user profile http://michaelchilongani.blogspot.com

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