Professionals last week agreed that the enactment of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (PPDA Act), had brought about a significant improvement in procurement procedures in the country.
However, they insist that unless the Institute of Procurement Professionals of Uganda (IPPU) is given a wider mandate to supervise and certify procurement professionals through amending the Institute of Supply Chain Management Act, the sector will continue to struggle with inefficient operations.
The IPPU is a professional body established to bring together public and private sector procurement professionals in Uganda. Together with the PPDA, the institute aims at ensuring that procurement practitioners maintain best procurement practices.
Edgar Agaba, a member of the IPPU council, decried of the restrictive mandate accorded to the institute after passing of Supply Chain Management Bill 2015.
He explained that unlike other professional institutions like the Uganda Medical Association and Law Society, the IPPU is restricted from supervising practitioners by the very law that creates it.
“Without the mandate to supervise procurement practitioners many people continue to practice procurement in an adhoc manner, which is costly to the country,” Agaba said during IPPU’s 6th annual dinner in Kampala recently.
David Kalitani, IPPU’s executive secretary noted that the lack of supervision of practitioners and students had resulted into flawed procurement, loss of public funds, poor service delivery and breeds impunity.
“Given the mandate to supervise, IPPU will be able to not only certify procurement professionals but also enable sanctioning of professionals who do malpractice by deregistering them or enacting disciplinary action.”
Over 50 per cent of Uganda’s annual budget is spent on procurement and disposal of public assets. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development has decried the delays caused by bureaucracy and inflexible of procurement laws saying that they have gone a long way in denying the country economies of scale on projects invested on, but don’t seem to kick off or end.
He expressed optimism in the amendments to add flexibility and professionalism to the sector.
“If we do not ensure professionalism of the people handling the sector, you and I stand to lose,” Kasaija said in his statement.
Kasaija however promised to ensure that procurement laws are amended soon to among others, reduce bureaucracy, reduce turnaround time to less than 90 days, but also inculcate professionalism in the sector increasing the mandate for IPPU.