The European Commission has finally reacted to the plight that has been plaguing the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board for quite sometime now by providing millions of Pula in technical assistance with the primary aim to improve operations, the PPADB head revealed on Wednesday at PPADB head office.
“The EU has provided P1,5 million in technical assistance to the PPADB through the services of a highly qualified international Procurement Advisor,” the executive chairman of PPADB, Armando Lionjanga, revealed at the inaugural meeting attended by the stake-holders and the press.
Lionjanga said John Finnigan will be tasked, inter alia, with reviewing PPADB operations and making recommendations for improvement.
“Besides producing manuals of procurement policies, systems and procedures, Finnigan will produce guidelines on performance measurement and benchmarking.
“He is to train PPADB human resources in different areas of procurement and the most important task for the Procurement Advisor is to implement a ‘pilot Procurement Devolution Scheme.’”
The Board has been the center of controversy amongst the public and politicians. Skeptics charged that the institution lacks transparency, fairness and equity in the awarding of tenders.
Consequently, delays in the implementation of projects in both ministries and local authorities during the current NDP 9 were a conspicuous eye sore. During the rest of the previous parliamentary sitting, and even from today’s legislators, there were vigorous complaints against the lack of implementation and services.
With NDP 9 coming to a close come 31st March and NDP 10 entering into the fray, the appointment of the Procurement Advisor is thus seen as the right decision at the right time and PPADB aims to set the trend to provide better services to the satisfaction of the public.
“At present neither PPADB nor any of the Procuring Entities have the capacity or necessary resources to implement the devolution process foreseen in the PPAD Act. The Act requires that the organization significantly devolve its responsibilities over a time to the Ministerial Tender Committees and other committees of the Board in the interest of promoting efficiency in the delivery of projects and services in government ministries and departments. PPADB will in the long term only retain adjudication responsibilities with respect to high value projects and those of national security as well as assume a regulatory role for procurement and disposal of assets.”
As such, the executive chairman says, the EC Procurement Advisor has proposed implementing a pilot devolution scheme in a few ministries and district administrations over an initial period of 3 to 4 months.
Four entities have been selected for the pilot project and these are: the Ministries of Education and Health, and the Kweneng and Kgatleng district administrations.
“If the PPADB Project Task Force is satisfied with the capacity building and management controls, the PE’s will be gradually allowed to assume greater responsibility and accountability,” said Finnigan, who will be leading the Task Force.
Lionjanga added, “The lessons learnt during this pilot will inform the roll-out strategy for further devolution that will be implemented over the next few years. Depending on the level of management skills developed, it is envisaged that considerable devolution of responsibility will take place in phased stages over the next one to five years. I must emphasise that the ultimate success and effectiveness of this planned devolution is critically dependant, inter alia, on the availability of suitably trained personnel in ministries, departments and districts administrations across the whole of government. Capacity building is a challenge to be tackled head-on and we are very grateful that the European Commission could respond so positively to our request for assistance to implement this major and crucial transformation.”
Susanne Roslund, EU first secretary and on behalf the Union to Botswana had this to say, “This project is a very important one as it is expected to have a significant impact in reducing delays in the implementation of projects as experienced during NDP 9. We are very pleased that we could respond to this significant need for expertise through our Technical Cooperation Facility, and do hope that the completion of this project will contribute to accelerating the pace of implementation of projects planned under NDP10 along with other measures already put in place by the government in this regard.”