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Sierra Leone Business: Finance Ministry sets new procurement thresholds

The Ministry of Finance has reviewed the thresholds for procurement process effective 1st January 2019. The Director of Procurement at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) Ahmed J. Musa says there have been reports of people not following procurement processes, which he said was because of the low threshold. There was a previous public procurement review some time back to look at the thresholds which was one of the recommendation made by the World Bank, but was not considered and that made the donors continue to hold on to their own rules and regulations. The donors he said are of the thinking that the country’s thresholds are not very convenient for proper procurement and the challenges that are faced by the financial management body so that is why they suggested a change of these thresholds to a reasonable level.  The First Schedule to the Act has been amended by repealing and replacing paragraphs 2,3,4, and 5 with the following new paragraphs stating that Request For Quotations (RFQ) which is also called the shopping method shall be used when the estimated value of the procurement is in the case of contracts of goods – Le100 million. For works projects the new threshold is Le200 million and for services it is Le100 million. These were all approved by Parliament recently. National Competitive Bidding (NCB) shall be used when the estimated value of the procurement for goods is Le200 million, works is Le400million and services, is Le200 million. For International Competitive Bidding (ICB) a contract for services is estimated at five billion Leones, contracts for works is eight billion Leones and for goods is five billion Leones. In the case of Expression of Interest for selection of Consultants, the solicitation of Expression Of Interests is required when the estimated value of the consultants is above five billion Leones. According to the Act, paragraph 2 states that Request for Quotation shall be used when the estimated value of the procurement is below: (a) In the case of contracts for the procurement of goods, Le 60 million (b) In the case of contracts for the procurement of works, Le 150 million (c) In the case of contracts for the procurement of services, Le 60 million. Also, paragraph 3, on National Competitive Bidding (N.C.B.) states that it shall be used when the estimated value of the procurement is below: (a) In the case of contracts for the procurement of goods, Le 600 million (b) In the case of contracts for the procurement of works, Le 900 million (c) In the case of contracts for the procurement of services, Le 600 million. Paragraph 4 reads… International Competitive Bidding (I.C.B.) shall be held when the estimated value of the procurement exceeds: (a) In the case of contracts for the procurement of goods, Le 600 million (b) In the case of contracts for the procurement of works, Le 900 million (c) In the case of contracts for the procurement of services, Le 600 million. “The Anti-Corruption will say you have violated procurement processes and procedures, and when you look at the administrative land scape of the financial management process some of the difficulties have been that the threshold was too low, hence the need for the review” he said.  Locals he said have been finding it difficult to compete with those bigger institutions under the ICB as a way of putting them out of business. But then with the NCB going up, the Ministry says they are now encouraging local businesses to fully participate up to a higher threshold. The NCB conditions provides for more tax payment, like NASSIT and the National Revenue Authority (NRA) taxes within the country are paid because that is going to protect more Sierra Leoneans, but with ICB those local conditions do not apply, “which is like opening a floodgate we thought that, that particular aspect be reviewed.”

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday November 26, 2018.

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