‘ICT can help fix flaws in public procurement’

Government officials who have lately been involved in the software system blame game for persistent bookkeeping blunders in their audit reports do not understand the importance of innovation.

Government officials who have lately been involved in the software system blame game for persistent bookkeeping blunders in their audit reports do not understand the importance of innovation.

Saddiq Mwai, a technology advisory director at PricewaterhouseCoopers Rwanda, however, said the biggest reason the investment has failed is because most institutions think information and communication technology (ICT) is an end in itself and not a means to an end.

“Many people think that ICT is a magic bullet that will solve their problems.

“They don’t know how to manage or analyse it in ways that enhance their understanding and then make changes in response to new insights,” he explained.

“The auditor general is an overseer. If I have a problem with my alarm clock, I can’t tell my boss that I am late for work because of the alarm clock.”

The government is investing a lot of money in systems to ease processes and improve accountability.

A number of government bodies, including Rwanda Development Board, were faulted in the 2011/12 Auditor General’s report for effecting unplanned expenditure, circumventing proper tendering procedures and failing to ensure accountability as recommended by the Auditor General.

Mwai advised public officials to learn from such reports and act accordingly, especially when it comes to electronic procurement.

“In the normal procurement process, you identify the need, document it and then integrate it in the system,” he explained.

“However, many government bodies don’t consult key people like the budget officer in the process.

“Even in cases that call for emergency procurement, there must be emergency procurement guidelines,” he said.

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