Gaps in transparency and accountability remain in State procurement: IPPR

13 Sep 2018 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 13 SEP (NAMPA) – The manner in which annual procurement plans are handled by government offices, ministries and agencies indicates that significant transparency and accountability gaps remain in the public procurement sector, a report by the Institute for Public Policy and Research has revealed (IPPR).
The details are contained in the IPPR’s Procurement Tracker, which was presented by research associate, Frederico Links here on Thursday.
“The fact that annual procurement plans of State sector entities and authorities are not publicly available on prescribed websites means that transparency and the public’s ability to hold State authorities accountable for their spending of taxpayers’ money is undermined significantly,” Links said.
In his report, Links indicated that there are three major concerns that emerged during the 2017/18 financial year in public procurement.
These are lack of transparency, lack of capacity and lack of clarity in terms of what should and should not be exempted by the Public Procurement Act.
The IPPR also found that out of 30 ministry level government portfolios, only 14 annual procurement plans for the 2018/19 financial year are available on the Ministry of Finance’s website. Out of 58 local authorities (13 municipalities, 26 towns and 19 villages) only eight annual procurement plans for the same financial year are publicly available.
In addition, out of about 70 State-owned enterprises, regulatory bodies and statutory agencies, only 21 annual procurement plans for the 2018/19 financial year were available on the Ministry of Finance’s website and out of 101 websites looked at, the annual procurement plans of only five State sector bodies - Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Auditor-General, Namibia Ports Authority, Namibia Qualifications Authority and the Development Bank of Namibia - appear on their websites.
He also raised concern over the procurement management unit within the Ministry of Finance, which he said has failed to produce an annual report of its own.
“The unit is supposed to prepare an annual procurement plan that a public entity intends to carry out during the financial year which includes types and quantity of the goods, works or services to be procured by the public entity,” Links added.
Public Procurement Act, 15 of 2015 sets the procurement methods available to a public entity to make any procurement in a given circumstance.
It aims to regulate the procurement of goods, works and services, letting or hiring of anything or the acquisition or granting of rights for or on behalf of and the disposal of assets of public entities.