The new system is being developed with technical and financial support from the National Information Technology Authority Uganda.
PIC: The Accountant General of Government Lawrence Semakula (middle) speaking during the electronic procurement system inauguration meeting in Kampala. He is flanked by secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi and Benson Turamye of PPDA. (Credit: Shamim Saad)
KAMPALA - The government has set aside approximately sh1.8b to popularise the new electronic procurement system in the private sector and other existing contractors for all government projects.
According to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), the sensitisation program, dubbed 'change management', is aimed at creating awareness about processes in the new e-system and to improve bidder rates.
PPDA executive director Benson Turamye said the average number of bidders
for government contracts at local governments is currently estimated at two contractors, leaving very little room for selecting the best service providers.
“Since we are changing from paper to digital processes, we want to create awareness among the public about how the new system will work," he said on the sidelines of the inaugural meeting of the e-government procurement working groups, at the ministry of finance this week.
"We also want to attract more bidders because currently the average bidder rate is two, which makes selection of bidders tricky."
The working groups are thematic alignments according to areas of expertise to provide technical support during the development of the new e-government procurement system.
The new system is being developed with technical and financial support from the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U).
Turamye said the change management project is also aimed at increasing transparency and bidder confidence in government procurement processes.
He said because of law bidder turnout, many local governments are unable to absorb all the money in their budgets, leading to unfinished works, poor quality and corruption.
According to NITA-U’s director for e-government services, Peter Kahiigi, the system is being designed to curb corruption in the procurement process, increase transparency and encourage competition.
“What is happening is that people are manipulating the paper system to do a lot of rubbish, but the new system will be corruption-proof since it won’t have any interface between suppliers and public procurement and disposal entities,” he said.
The finance permanent secretary and secretary to the treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, said the adoption of the e-government procurement system is one of the most significant initiatives being undertaken by the government.
He said hitherto, the procurement process has been plagued with corruption, non-compliance to legal framework, unstandardised processes, continuous delays in delivery of services and wastage of resources through uncompetitive and closed purchases.
“As you may be aware, public procurement accounts for 70% of government expenditure, and is the most vulnerable government activity to wastage, fraud and corruption," Muhakanizi said.
"The application of ICT is therefore believed to have a revolutionary potential to government operations."
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the new e-government procurement system is likely to cause a 5% - 8% savings of the procurement value once fully implemented.