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Sierra Leone Business: NPPA to submit suitable e-procurement platform for implementation

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has asked the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) to include in their budget submission for Financial Year 2019 the design and implementation of a suitable e-procurement platform from 2018 onwards.
In the MoF Budget Call Circular (BCC) sent to the Agency, it stated that it is part of the World Bank budget support triggers agreed for 2018, that Government should move to an e-procurement system that would improve on transparency in the procurement process across Government.
Just recently also, the approved Supplementary Budget 2018 detailed several steps to ensure transparency in public procurement and value for money is achieved with the Ministry not allowing any sole sourcing method of procurement.
It was stated that all public procurement transactions, above the threshold, should be done through open competitive bidding except for arms and ammunition and in cases of emergency such as epidemics and natural disasters consistent with the National Public Procurement Act, 2017.
In addition, the NPPA has published Price Norms to guide the procurement of goods and services of which the MoF has advised all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to strictly adhere to, as they reserve the right to reject requests for payment of contracts and Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) whose prices differ from those indicated on the Price Norms.
The BCC also indicated that Government is in the process of upgrading the current Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) software to a higher version (Version 7) which is a web-based version, to be rolled out to MDAs.
They have recommended that all MDAs are therefore advised to improve on the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) infrastructure to support internet connectivity to enable effective utilization of the new IFMIS software.
In the Auditor General’s report 2016, she stated that there was no evidence of an IT governance structure such as an IT Steering Committee but there is however, an IT strategic policy at national level that aligns the IT goals and objectives with the MDAs using the system but none at the MDA level per se.
“The current governance structure for IFMIS, such as it is, seems to suggest that the Accountant General is not the ‘business owner’ even though it is the prime user of the data” the report writes.
Important financial systems outside the Accountant General’s Department (AGD) the report says do not interface with IFMIS and that integration of the IFMIS would improve data accuracy, simplify reconciliation, enhance transparency and accountability of overall financial management processes.
There was no policy on password management and in some instances system users in MDAs changed their own passwords. In cases where it was not done by them, passwords were changed by the system by default.
Additionally to support the effective implementation of the budget, the MoF will implement a two-phased approach to automate the budget execution process. Automated Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) Forms I and II.
These are said to have been designed and will be rolled-out to MDAs for implementation from January 2019, and following the approval of the FY2019-2021 Budget, training sessions will be conducted for all stakeholders by December 2018.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Monday August 27, 2018.

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