Public Procurement and Good Governance

A proud Kenyan yet not covering up when we are failing at our own mandate. We all speak of corruption as though it is initiated by some strangers when actually in most cases it is propagated by our own selves. Good governance structures in procurement departments enables fair and seamless procurement processes. As much as we like pointing fingers we also play a great role in public procurement inadequacies leading to corruption. 

Tender- preneurs in public procurement 

Many cases have been noted of tender-preneurs. Where officers of the government collide with the public to set up temporary companies that bid for tenders at the exact budget limit. Many of these companies offer prices below the market price and even the manufacturing price. The only logical explanation here is that either the products are counterfeit or not of good quality.  Remember on following up you will realize that the company does not even manufacture the products. Other cases of corruption would be canvasing where well connected and financially loaded companies provide bribes to ensure they get hefty government tenders.  Worse of these leads to “sorry, you did not qualify” emails without any valid reasons. Sometimes the prices, quality or even documents and expertise are better than those selected, but still the emails are the same. 

What now? 

These then make us wonder, should the private sector companies continue to bid for tenders that seem to be predetermined from the word go? Should companies without insider information or those that are keen in integrity and not willing to bribe their way up even bid for government tenders? Funny as it may sound. We are also part of the government but when it comes to such situations we seem to be alienated with the government. “Us vs Them”. Should this be the case? 

What has the government done?

The public Procurement department has come up with many ways to ensure that companies that speak and walk integrity still have a chance at business opportunities with the government. I am not saying that now its “it’s over Corruption!” No. But it is a good start and I am willing to accord the department my benefit of doubt. 

Some of the initiatives include Ifmis. The Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) is the public online procurement platform that provides information to the tenderers to ensure accountability and integrity among the bidders and the officers of the government during public procurement processes. Digitization of the procurement process is a chance for clear processes at the procurement table. The team is also working on EGP System that is still underway. The system will be able to provide timely updates and data required to see the trends in selecting government suppliers. The ACA Recordial System is also another way to ensure that relevant data required in the procurement process and decision making is up to date. For your information, public procurement and tendering disputes are required to be resolved within 21 days.

Beneficial Ownership and Public Procurement

For a corporate institution to procure with the government, the institution will have to disclose its beneficial owners.  This is to ensure that directors and firms with integrity and good standing get the chance to also work with the government. This is just one of the ways of revolutionizing and improving the procurement systems in the public sector. Some companies have been barred from procuring with the government. However, they still find ways of registering new companies to be used for tendering for government bids. One of the easiest way to identify the directors behind the masked companies is through disclosure of beneficial ownership. Do not miss out on opportunities because your Beneficial Owners are not disclosed. This can be done by your company secretary on the BRS platform or through a Company Secretarial consultant like Scribe ServicesTM.   This will also ensure that directors and companies that have been barred from participating in the procurement process are identified.  Board 

Board Evaluations and public Procurement 

Many state-owned corporations require a well-equipped board skill-wise, knowledge-based, and composition-wise to ensure they keep the companies from poor procurement practices, hence tainting the company’s names. Board evaluations are like health checks for the boards. Especially for those in companies that can’t seem to run away from defamation, disputes and court cases on basis of procurement related corruption cases. Then it might be time for the boards to have a review of its composition to ensure that the company identifies and fosters the strengths and works on their weaknesses to close any loop holes available from the top most management level. Board evaluations are done by certified company secretaries like Scribe ServicesTM. Even better when there is a new digitalized way of doing the board evaluations like through the 1st Ever Virtual Kenyan Board Evaluation Platform which assures, affordability, convenience and environment cautiousness by replacing the analogue paper work evaluations. A good board of any company should ensure that they have a board evaluation on a regular basis to ensure compliance and good governance. Haba na Haba hujaza kibaba. Slowly but surely with the support of the private sector, dialogues among the sector leaders and collaboration on projects, we can work on reducing procurement based corruption.