Kenya has made significant progress in the journey to holistically improve the public procurement system based on the principles of good governance, integrity, equality, equity, professionalism, value for money, transparency and accountability. Public procurement is the process by which governments and other publicly-funded entities acquire goods, works, and services needed to implement public projects.
It’s important to appreciate the journey the country has taken in its effort to reform public procurement. From the 1960s where there was no formal procurement system, we moved to a system regulated by Treasury Circulars in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 and finally to the introduction of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act (PPDA) of 2015 and attendant Regulations of 2020 which did usher in new standards for public procurement in Kenya.
This was also in line with Article 227 of the Constitution which provides for procurement and asset disposal system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.
To further improve transparency and accountability, promote the local economy and simplify procurement procedures, Parliament further amended the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015 which brought out the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) Act 2022, in July, 2022. One of the key highlights of the amendments is that MDAs are required to publish their respective approved annual procurement plans on their websites. Also, National Treasury is required to publish the plans in a centralised manner.
Publication of Annual Procurement Plans is a great first step towards increased transparency and efficiency. Such transparency will inform bidders a Procuring Entity’s requirements in advance thus help increase time for bidders to prepare for tenders, increase competition, reduce cost and reduce scope for malpractice.
The country has managed to develop a strong legal and institutional public procurement framework. Public procurement institutions key among them the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) is mandated to among others, ensure efficient and transparent procurement, encourage competition and instill accountability.
One of the notable achievements of PPRA is the publishing of tenders and contracts information on the public procurement information portal, tenders.go.ke. On the other hand, The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board is mandated to review, hear and determine tendering and asset disposal disputes. The Public Procurement Department, under the National Treasury, spearheads the development and execution of public procurement policies at both levels of Government.
Some of the notable reform milestones include the ongoing development of a new and capable e-Government Procurement system, spearheaded by the Public Procurement Department, under the National Treasury.
-Mr Mwenda is a communication expert at the European Union-funded PASEDE Programme
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