As Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda head towards a joint monetary union, experts are of the view that it is high time the East African Community member states drop their individual procurement acts and adopt a single procedure.
The view was among the considerations raised during the ongoing eighth East African Procurement Forum here, hosted by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and officially opened by Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal.
“Our community has already gone through the first three stages of integration including the Customs Union, Common Market Protocol and the ongoing monetary union process; but in order to make this effective, there is an important component left; the harmonisation of procurement procedures and Acts,” said the PPRA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Laurent Shirima.
Dr Shirima explained that before the end of the three-day session, the meeting would have deliberated on a number of issues and policies towards the proposed harmonisation of procurement acts and procedures within the East African- Community.
He reiterated that public institutions around East Africa and other procurement entities still need proper supervision to ensure adherence to authorised purchasing regulations.
Vice-President Dr Bilal said unlike the industrialised world, the penetration of imports in East Africa is significantly high and the nature of goods and services that public sectors in the region consume are mostly imported.
“If you analyse our budgets, you will find that public administration, education, health and social services make up of over 70 per cent of the public expenditures in each of the member states,” said the Vice-President adding that it is high time each of the EA countries start purchasing goods from each other to offset the high import figure.
EAC Deputy Secretary General (Planning and Infrastructure), Dr Enos Bukuku called upon the cross listing and harmonisation of National Health Funds throughout the five East African countries. He underscored the need to level procurement procedures as these are segments that affect ordinary people.