NPPA Sanitizes Public Procurement & Saves Billions of Public Funds

NPPA Chief Executive, Ibrahim Brima Swarray presenting Annual Procurement Assessment Report 2018 to President Julius Maada Bio

By Amin Kef Sesay

In 2004, the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) was established to serve as the statutory body to among other things regulate, monitor and advise Government on issues relating to public procurement in Sierra Leone. It has been established that over the past years since its inception, the procurement landscape has progressed both in and out of the country.

With the SLPP Government led by President Bio taking over the reins of political power in the country and with the present Management team at the NPPA under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer, Ibrahim Brima Swarray that institution has undergone a lot of transformation and reforms in the procurement landscape both in processes and functionality.

The NPPA, over the past two and half years, with support from the Government and donors, has been revitalized with tremendous successes and achievements which have continued despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first half of 2020, the Authority has undertaken and accomplished several activities in line with its mandate.

NPPA, in January, 2020 published and launched its first quarter 2020 Price Norm which serves as a guide to procuring entities for current market prices of most user items. The use of this Price Norm is mandatory by the procuring entities.

CEO Ibrahim Brima Swarray in trying to reveal how the NPPA has been metamorphosed narrated his stewardship drive.

On 20th February, 2020, the Chief Executive, Mr. Ibrahim Brima Swarray delivered a public lecture to hundreds of students on the theme “Implementing Electronic Government Procurement in Sierra Leone” at the Miatta Conference Hall, Freetown. The public lecture was organized by the Management and staff of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM).

On 6th March, 2020, the Authority, as required by the Public Procurement Act, 2016, published and launched the 4th quarter 2019 quarterly ‘Public Procurement Bulletin’. The Bulletin contained information on public procurement, including approved procurement plans, proposed procurement notices, and invitation to bids and contract award information. This edition of the bulletin recorded a procurement savings of Le. 401,380,115,000 (Four Hundred and One Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty Million, One Hundred and Fifteen Thousand Leones or $40,138,082 (Forty Million, One Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand Eighty Two United States Dollars);  saving made through the rigid reviews of procurement processes and the Authority’s  strict requirement for diligent compliance with the law.

On 20th March, 2020, the Authority through the Minister of Finance tabled before Parliament the Public Procurement Regulations, 2020 which contains provisions on the introduction and implementation of the electronic government procurement among others. The first Public Procurement Regulations was promulgated in 2006 which became obsolete with the enactment of the Public Procurement Act, 2016, thus there has been the need to promulgate new regulations that will give further explanations to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2016.

In April 2020, the Authority published and through the Minister of Finance. laid before Parliament the first Public Procurement Assessment Report (spend analysis) of the overall functioning of the procurement system in the country; which said report was on 14th June, 2020 formally presented to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio at State House by the Chief, Board and Management of the Authority. This report highlighted the highest spending entities, the number of procurement activities undertaken and their methods and the total amount expended on procurement activities by the country for the year 2018.

On 2nd July, 2020, the Authority published and launched the 3rd quarter 2020 Price Norm.

The Authority has reviewed the Public Procurement Manual which was launched on Tuesday, 8th September, 2020. The Manual will serve as a guide on the various procurement processes and procedures to be followed by all procurement practitioners.

The 2nd quarter 2020 edition of the Public Procurement Bulletin has been compiled. It will be launched on a date to be determined by the NPPA Management and Board, it contains vital information on public procurement including COVID-19 contract awards information and a procurement saving of the sum of Le.12, 767,921,765 (Twelve Billion, Seven Hundred & Sixty Seven Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty One Thousand, Seven Hundred & Sixty Five Leones = $ 1,286,926.43 (One Million, Two Hundred & Eighty Six Thousand, Nine Hundred & Twenty Five United States Dollars).

With the emergence and outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic and Sierra Leone recording cases of the disease, the need to procure COVID-19 related items arose. Procurement relating to COVID-19 requires urgency and emergency which is provided for in regulation 119 of the Public Procurement Regulations, 2020. With this provision in mind the need to ensure that procurement processes and procedures are complied with coupled with enhancing fiduciary compliance, the Chief Executive Officer instituted a twenty four hour response time (instead of the five day maximum normal period) to requests and reviews regarding COVID-19 related procurement. This measure by the Authority was to ensure that requests relating to COVID-19 are expeditiously dealt with whilst maintaining compliance with procurement processes and procedures.

Even in the midst of the outbreak, as far as procurement is concerned, the Authority continues to uphold the principle of value for money and accountability thereby resulting in huge procurement savings that will be featured in the special spend analysis publication on COVID-19.



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