The Ministry of Health (MoH) last week signed a service level agreement with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board, aimed at ensuring upholding of the principles of public procurement, which include transparency, competition, value for money, fairness and equitable treatment of bidders.
PPADB Executive Chairperson Bridget John said at the signing that the service level agreement (SAL) was an indication of MoH and PPADB’s commitment to speeding up the procurement of works, services and supplies and ensuring that services are delivered on time.
“The idea is to align expectations with delivery, bring about certainty in the procurement process and clarify roles between parties at every stage of the procurement cycle,” said John.
She observed that when procurement is delayed in government, there is a lot of finger pointing and blame shifting which does not benefit anyone at the end of the day. The SLA will also addresses issues of maintaining confidentiality during key stages of procurement such as scope design, evaluation and adjudication, whilst placing emphasis on procurement planning and timely execution.
“There have at times been situations where for whatever reason some evaluators change the goal posts at evaluation to favour certain bidders, resulting in deferrals and cancellation of tenders which delay procurement. Ministries should be alive to the fact that whatever they put in their tender documents as their mandatory compliance requirements and specifications have to be met by bidders,” said John.
She further said the PPADB desires to see procuring entities becoming more competent and handling all their tenders with integrity and speed, even at adjudication stage. The idea, said John, is to eventually give way to full devolution and allow PPADB to play an effective oversight and regulatory role in public procurement. She added that the separation of functions would strengthen accountability and empower Ministries to exercise full control over execution of their mandate and fully account for their actions. The PPADB carried out two consecutive audits and monitoring exercises on ministerial tender committees, which showed that the adjudication committee of CMS has not been doing very well.
For her part, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health, Shenaaz El-Halabi said her Ministry was ready to adhere to procurement plans, including timelines, in order to speed up implementation.
She added that her Ministry will carefully select officers tasked with the procurement function, including evaluation of tenders, to ensure that they are competent, have integrity, and are beyond undue influence.
“The procurement unit will be fully staffed and utilized for the achievement of best results as they provide quality assurance in the Ministry’s procurement. Situations where procurement is uncoordinated and there are no adequate controls in place should be avoided,” said El-Halabi.