By James Anyanzwa and Njiraini Muchira
The powers of the Public Procurement Oversight Authority ( PPOA) will be clipped in a new wave of reforms that seek to strengthen the public procurement process.
The latest are part of the recommendations for amending the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005, which has overly been blamed for delayed implementation of public projects.
The appeals procedures under the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) will also be restructured to make it difficult for frivolous complainants to abuse the process.
Under the new reforms, a dedicated high court is to be established to handle procurement contract appeals while appellants seeking stay of execution of contracts in the high court will be required to pay a fee. Rogue contractors who have fleeced the Government billion of shillings through shoddy and inflated deals will be blacklisted and banned from participating in public tenders.
A case in point is the massive Sh94 billion Olkaria — a flagship project under Vision 2030 economic blueprint. Firms seeking to supply electric rigs for drilling wells for the 280 MW project initially delayed the plant following lengthy complaints and appeals.
Another Vision 2030 flagship project that has been thrown into jeopardy due to the cumbersome and stringent procurement rules in the standard gauge railway project.
Kenya Railways, the parastatal that was initially supposed to implement the project before it was taken over the Ministry of Transport, was forced to float tenders seeking for a consultant to carry out the preliminary design and environmental and social impact assessment services at least three times.
According to the Controller of Budget Ms Agnes Odhiambo, Kenya may not attain Vision 2030 goals due to failure to utilise development funds as a result of rigid procurement procedures and donor funding conditionalities.
Odhiambo blamed failure to spend the entire development budget to rigid procurement procedures and donor funding conditionalities.
“Our report shows that only 36.6 per cent of the development vote for the period July 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 was spent,” Ms Odhiambo said. “This poor use of budgetary allocations is a worrying trend and one that jeopardises efforts aimed at achieving the Vision 2030,” she said adding that non-utilisation of resources results in non-provision of services to the public.
According to the new guidelines released by the Treasury’s directorate of Public Procurement, accounting officers will receive more powers to take charge of the entire procurement process and to make judgement over the procurement process.
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