WINDHOEK, SEPT 8 – A lack of transparency coupled by inadequate reporting by state entities have been outlined as part of key governance issues haunting public procurement.
A report issued by Procurement Tracker Namibia (PTN) earlier today highlighted that there were red flags around pandemic procurement practices, lack of accountability for non-compliance with the Public Procurement Act of 2015 as well as widespread use of the emergency procurement method.
“For the 2020/21 financial year, 128 public entities, out of 178 appear to have submitted annual procurement plans to the PPU (Procurement Policy Unit.) That means that roughly 72% of public entities have been compliant with the law… that nearly a third, or about 28% of public entities appear to not have filed plans remains concerning,” read the report.
Furthermore, although many entities had submitted plans to the PPU – plans subsequently made available via its webpage – many still had no plans on their own websites while others didn’t have websites to start with.
While procurement guidelines state that a Public Entity should post its procurement plan on its website, yet many entitiesd did not have functional or updated websites.
Meanwhile, 62 public entities had submitted quarterly reports in the first quarter of 2020/21, thus translating to 35% of public entities. In the second and third quarters, 58 public entities (33%) submitted reports. However in the fourth quarter a miniature 24% of public entities submitted reports.
The PPU previously reported that by the end of April 2021 only five annual procurement plans were available for public scrutiny, amounting to three percent of public entities compliant. Moreover, by the start of September 2021, 58 public entities had submitted annual plans. According to the report some plans do not provide adequate descriptions of the goods, work or services to be procured during the year, or what procurement method would be used, or the estimated value of a specific procurement.
“Some submitted plans have not even been signed by accounting officers, with the PPU. The APP should bear signature of the Accounting Officer to signify approval thereof. These shortcomings, and others, of the plans suggest that some public entities continue to not approach the compiling of the plans with the appropriate seriousness and consideration, but merely put something together because it is required by law.”
The PPU has produced a Reference Guide to Public Procurement to assist stakeholders, including the general public to gain an understanding of the workings of the public procurement system. In addition, there have been amendment proposals to the Public Procurement Act that speak to enhancing and strengthening transparency/accountability and integrity provisions in the law. Another seeks to put a timeframe on when annual procurement plans should be compiled and submitted by public entities.