In an effort to fight corruption in the procurement sector, the ministry of Finance has launched a five-year online (e-procurement) strategy 2014-2019.
The strategy aims to promote accountability and transparency especially in all public procurement departments. The World Bank has funded the implementation of the strategy to a tune of $5.8m (Shs 15.6bn).
Speaking at the launch of the strategy at Serena hotel last week, Matia Kasaija, the state minister for Planning in the ministry of Finance, said government would adopt an e-procurement system to empower entities to better manage public procurement and the disposal process.
“E-government procurement is expected to increase transparency in public procurement. As you are aware, lack of transparency breeds corruption, unfairness, lack of competition and ultimately the government does not achieve value for money as a result of paying more for a service that could be delivered at a cheaper price,” he said.
Uganda’s private sector depends heavily on government contracts for survival. Kasaija emphasized that other benefits of the system included increased efficiency in procurement and service delivery, creation of confidence in the procurement system and ultimately value for money.
Under the e-procurement system, entities will be able to run all public procurement processes online and bidders will have a quick access to all relevant information in the public domain. This will improve the time one takes to bid and get a response.
Kasaija said some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) might not be able to embrace e-procurement in the short-term, and could initially be disaantaged. He said there might be a need to implement programmes aimed at preparing them for e-procurement.
He said the e-procurement system, if fully utilized, would “empower our people and change their lives in ways we could not have imagined even two decades ago.”
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority is the implementing agency for the e-procurement system. Vincent Mugaba, the public relations officer of the authority, said Uganda would start e-procurement within the next five years.
Source : The Observer