The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) continues to face capacity challenges, which are unfavourably impacting on its ability to effectively deliver on its mandate to its clients. By nature of its statutory functions, tasks and obligations, PPADB plays a key role in Government operations in terms of project and service delivery from a procurement perspective, especially that approximately 70 % of Government budget is expended through procurement
When briefing the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Charles Mbiganyi Tibone, during a familiarization visit last week, PPADB Executive Chairman Armando Vasco Lionjanga said that his corporation is faced with operational challenges, ranging from inadequate workforce capacity to lack of accommodation. Such impediments, he said, make it difficult for PPADB to carry out its statutory tasks and obligations to Government as spelt out in the PPAD Act of 2001 [Cap 42:08].
“It is clear that PPADB plays a kingpin role that is critical for the successful and efficient implementation of government projects and programs, with respect to project and service delivery. PPADB operations are critical in the realization of the fifth ‘D’ of Delivery, by Ministries and Departments, which is part of the President’s road map. Therefore compliance with PPAD procedures can’t be overemphasized” said Lionjanga.
With respect to contractor registration regarding the inspection and assessment of applicants’ premises, it emerged that PPADB does not have the full capacity to carry out this critical function countrywide. The assessment and inspection of applicants’ premises also delays registration of contractors with PPADB.
Delegation of this responsibility to Ministries, though permissible under the Act (section 50:2), is also proving problematic because of capacity constraints. Grading of contractors from different vocations and disciplines is also proving to be very problematic because of capacity constraints on the part of the Ministries and Departments. Grading of contractors from different vocations and disciplines in different categories is also proving to be a challenge for the PPADB.
Office Accommodation for the PPADB Head Office is also a problem, as the current premises may not be available after the current lease elapsing September 2011.
There is also a need to establish satellite offices in strategic locations around the country to take services of the PPADB to the people.
This development, said Lionjanga, will ease the burden of contractors travelling long distances from across the country to obtain services rendered solely in Gaborone such as collecting certificates, document certification and similar services.
“Though desirable, the establishment of these offices may not be possible due to financial constraints resulting from the global recession. ” he added.
Lionjanga also said that there is a need for the establishment of procuring units within Procuring Entities (PEs) as a matter of urgency as clearly spelled out in PPAD Regulation 11 and 12, and their continued absence are proving to be a weak link in the procurement chain.
“Discussions have been initiated with MFDP to explore ways of establishing these within the existing structures and optimizing the utilization of available resources, and avoiding duplication” said Lionjanga.
The PPADB Head is also reiterated the desirability of procurement planning. The PPAD Regulations prescribe that preparation of procurement plans shall be the responsibility of the procurement units Ministries and Departments.
Lionjanga said that procurement planning management is a core organizational function, which has over time become increasingly critical for any organization that seeks to realize the benefits of value for money and economies of scale in procurement transactions.
“There is an urgent need for staff retention, the establishment of a cadre of procurement personnel, and adequate financial and human resources of the PPADB. Otherwise we may not be able to carry out our statutory obligations under the Act. We therefore count on the Ministry’s support and guidance during our transition from a purely adjudication role to a regulatory and compliance authority” said Lionjanga.