A new law that seeks to establish a national professional body for procurement officers in the country is under consideration, Bernard Kayirangwa, Head of Capacity Development Unit, at Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) has said.
The law will see the establishment of a legally binding national association for procurement officers in the country.
A bill, expected to be tabled in Parliament for debate, will not only help streamline the country’s procurement industry but also pave way for the creation of a procurement professional body that is legally recognised, Kayirangwa said.
The legislation will also see the establishment of three committees charged with streamlining the procurement sector, including the general assembly, the high council, and the disciplinary and inspection committee, he added.
It will also lay the foundation for institutional training in capacity building and self regulation.
“We want to see more efficiency and transparency where all practitioners will be held accountable. We don’t want to have a professional body that will be used as a network for corruption. The body will be used as a basis for the promotion of standards and ethics in the procurement practice,” Kayirangwa noted.
The public and practitioners are both optimistic with some calling for more investments to make the profession more competitive at both local and regional level
Rwanda is the only East African Community member state with no professional body that brings together procurement practitioners.
Why the law is important
According to experts, the lack of a professional body is working against the country’s procurement industry since practitioners cannot be recognised by the other EAC partner states.
Therefore, as partner states fast-track regional integration, it’s imperative for Rwanda to move fast on this legislation, so that practitioners can begin to compete at regional and international level, Malcolm Youngson, the Chief Executive Officer, International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management, said.
For Augustus Seminega, the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority director general, the law must seek to make procurement officers dependable.
“It is important that public procurement officials are held to account so that the blame game where senior officials blame their juniors and vice-versa stops. You also still have procurement officials creating bureaucratic procedures so that they can benefit,” Seminage, said, while addressing a three-day workshop of regional procurement officers in Kigali last week.
A mechanism should be put in place to make procurement practitioners work closely with law enforcement authorities to address corruption, which is said to be rampant in the sector, he added.
Since procurement is prone to corruption, we need to wage war against the vice, Seminage noted.
“The expectations of procurement are shifting; many executives are increasingly looking to the profession before they can engage in any kind of business. Therefore, investing in the sector while seeking ways of streamlining it is very critical not only for Rwanda but the region as a whole,” Dr Joseph Ogachi, council member, Kenya Institute of Supplies Management, advised.
Paying heavy price
According to RRPA annual activity report 2013, a total of 39 companies have been debarred over failure to execute contracts and forgery.
It is, therefore, believed that a more effective legislation will help deal with such cases.
“As the region moves closer to full integration, it’s time to strengthen our procurement departments,” Jean Paul Nzeyimana, a procurement expert said.
Alex Bayigamba, a contractor in Kigali, is optimistic giving the profession more recognition will help align procurement with government strategy of economic sustainability.
“There is no way you can achieve economic excellence without upholding the highest level of discipline in your procurement processes. Therefore, what government is seeking to do is the right decision coming at the right time.”
Rwanda Public Procurement Authority was established on December 30, 2007 by the law no63/2007 which was later replaced by the law no 25/2011 of June 30, 2011 to help make Rwanda a centre of regional excellence in public procurement where government money would be accorded best value through proper procurement standards, guidelines and procedures.