By Kirubel Tadesse
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) has devised a new procurement approach, incorporating property administrating and also divorcing procurement procedures from financial regulations.
Among the new introductions are a plan to set up an electronic procurement system whose system is to be proposed by the soon to be empowered autonomous federal organ, the Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency.
The new Procurement and Public Property Administration proclamation tabled before parliament last Thursday empowers federal agencies to assume procurements with the approvals of heads of their institutions, throwing out the long existing tender committee based practice.
The practice of restructuring federal organs was started in October by Cabinet and now it is MoFED’s turn. MoFED, among other responsibilities, oversees the agency and issues directives to implement the proclamation.
The proclamation was sent to the Budget and Finance Affairs Standing Committee last Thursday. The bill, in an effort to achieve transparency and modernisation in public procurement – which accounts for an average of 80 per cent of a federal agency’s budget, and offers corruption opportunities – introduces E-procurement.
The agency is not only expected to have MoFED select the most suitable online procurement system, taking the country’s limited communication facilities into consideration, but will strive to build the capacity of public bodies, suppliers and supervising agencies.
Already gearing up to implement the new procurement practice, according to Haji Yebesa, MoFED public relations officer, over 380 professional engaged in procurement planning and implementation and accounting records are currently under training.
“The goal of the new regulation is to make procurement as transparent as possible,” Haji explained to Capital, “the electronic based procurement to be implemented offers that advantage.”
According to Haji, the professionals, who are currently undergoing a 12 day training, will not only be familiarised with the new approach, but will learn how best to utilise the web-based approach.
According to IT experts, e-sourcing, one of the e-procurement technologies, allows parties to identify new suppliers for a specific category of purchasing requirements using Internet technology.
This is an approach eyed by MoFED, which says most of the good Government agencies purchases match and they can benefit by ordering as a common group.
“The new approach will also avoid unplanned and often rushed procuring habits seen in Government agencies, as big purchases often happen around May as the end of the financial year approaches,” Haji added.
Starting from next budget year, MoFED hopes Business Process Re-engineering led amendments within the Ministry and the procurement bill will bear fruit.
The 380 professionals currently in training gathered from 88 federal agencies are expected to devise twice or three time regular and scheduled procurements to best utilise the huge funds Government spends on procurement.