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IFMIS hitches need to be addressed

By Peter Njenga | December 18th 2015

One of the challenges that pose a serious threat to development in the county governments is the e-procurement system under the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis).

The main purpose of Ifmis was to have a unified financial management system across all Government departments in order to improve transparency and accountability in all functions as well as improve on efficiency.

According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, implementation of the e-procurement was about strengthening the Government-supplier relationship by streamlining the procurement procedures, providing easy access to information and documents, increasing the number of bidders as the bidding process gets simplified, and finally to ensure cost saving for the Government and taxpayers.

Since the roll-out of e-procurement in the counties, a number of challenges have been observed.

First, not many officials charged with the responsibility of managing the system have had adequate training. Commendably, the Treasury has been conducting countrywide trainings for users of the system.

However, considering the number of suppliers in the country, the numbers reached have been very minimal. Quite a good number of suppliers have no idea what they are supposed to do. Probably one of the best ways to create awareness is by putting notices on the media.

Secondly, the staff in the counties are also insufficiently trained on the system. All the staff involved must be trained.

Thirdly, the system itself is yet to be fully tested and configured to suit all the county operations and all the persons necessary to fully process the procurement online. Every now and then operations stall for various reasons.

The end result is that for a system that was designed to improve on efficiency, it is now the major cause of delay in the delivery of services and goods in the counties.

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