The Executive Chairperson of Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) Bridget John says they are working on addressing a myth that government tenders are littered with corruption. Addressing the media on Monday, John said inspiring confidence is very important aspect in execution of government tenders. She said efforts to ensure compliance to PPADB Act and Regulations continue as action is being taken against contractors breaching the Code of Conduct and terms of contracts. According to John, currently two contractors, their directors and shareholders are on suspension for a period of 30 months from 31st August to 30th March 2020. John said affected directors and shareholders cannot form new companies to trade with government during the suspension period and PPADB will not register such companies. She said the Board always conducts joint operations with other institutions like DCEC, Competition Authority and the Auditor General. PPADB has carried audits on a number of projects which include poverty eradication, BIUST procurement of supplies, Thune Dam project and the Ministry of Health and Wellness with regards to facilities management project. John said a number of issues always arise during these joint audits and it always become apparent that there is over reliance on less competitive methods of procurement, poor procurement and adherence to budgetary procedures and poor record keeping.
Other issues that reportedly arise during the audits are lack of capacity for supervision and monitoring of projects and high rate of projects failure which was seen mainly in poverty eradication projects. With the 2103-2018 Strategic Plan coming to an end in March this year, John said there is a lot that has been achieved during that period. This includes the development of an integrated procurement management system which was launched in 2016 with the e-biding module being rolled out to ministries. To date, more than 25, 000 contractors are said to have been registered in different categories to participate in government tenders. During the implementation of the Plan, PPADB encountered a number of challenges such as lack of skilled procurement personnel in government; ad-hoc approach to procurement functions; failure to submit End of Activity Reports which hampers performance monitoring of contractors; and over reliance on less competitive methods which affects competition and value for money. John has also advised Procuring Entities to improve adherence to procurement plans for timely implementation of projects. “Delays in initiation of procurement by procuring entities, evaluation of tenders and contracting remain a concern which discredits the procurement system,” she said. She noted that there are also delays in disciplining contractors due to contractors’ tactics and poor record keeping by Procuring Officers. She said another challenge is the introduction of new factors at evaluation stage which results in numerous complaints and delayed procurement. There is also said to be a perception of corruption in tenders where some public officers are suspected to collude with some contractors to favour them with contracts.