Delegates from the five members of the East African Community (EAC) Tuesday gathered in Kampala, Uganda, for a three-day meeting on harmonisation of the nations’ public and procurement systems in the Community.
The forum, dubbed ‘Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Procurement Systems’, is focusing on the compliance of public procurement laws, capacity building and operating systems within member states.
“The systems in all our partner East African states are based on the same principles. The level of reforms may be at different stages but the intention is the same.”
Ugandan Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Ezra Suruma, told delegates at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Resort Hotel in Munyonyo.
“This calls for all of us to work together to achieve our goals. Sharing experiences will obviously lead to improvement in the procurement systems of our countries,” Suruma said. He added that under the EAC framework, the main objective was to harmonize practices in different areas.
“This forum should be able to address preliminary questions regarding harmonization of country systems and work out areas where synergy can be achieved. A harmonized procurement system will automatically lead to gains as traders across our nations will be able to seek opportunities in our partner countries and we should be able to achieve value for money through empowering of our own providers,” he added.
Organized by the World Bank in collaboration with Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), the forum will also discuss aligning development partner procurement systems with government procedures.
“The meeting comes at an opportune time when many of developing partners are placing an increased emphasis on aligning development partner procurement systems with Governments. We are here because we are concerned about the use of public funds. No country should expect to develop if it doesn’t take care of its resource,” Mbuba Mbuga, a World Bank senior procurement specialist told The New Times.
“Efficient and effective public procurement is central to value-for-money, budget execution, service delivery and ultimately national development. Good procurement systems not only promote the development of the local private sector by providing equal opportunities for business, but also promote foreign investment in the country,” he added.
According to the World Bank, the total annual volume of public procurement for each of the East African countries is estimated to be 12 percent of the GDP, representing almost half of the governments’ spending.