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NEWS : Local News  

NPPA Holds CPPN Technical Conference in Sierra Leone
By Aruna Turay
Nov 26, 2008, 17:04
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In collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Sierra Leones National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) on Tuesday 25th November 2008 commenced a four-day Commonwealth Public Procurement Network (CPPN) international forum. The conference has as it theme: "Sustainable Public Procurement: Building Capacity in Procurement Bench Marking, Monitoring and Evaluation." Holding at the Conference Hall of the Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown, the forum attracted various experts and other stakeholders from different countries around Africa, especially commonwealth member states.

Deputy Minister of Finance Hon Momodu Kargbo giving the keynote address

Delivering his welcome address, Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Sheku Sesay, who also doubles as Chairman of the Occasion disclosed that a major challenge facing developing member governments of the commonwealth is the bolstering of public procurement in the required multiple directions of building institutional capacity, transformation of procurement practices, reduction of corruption as well as taping into for sharing opportunities presented by sister member countries. "In recognition of this gap, the commonwealth has provided an integrated response package under its Public Expenditure Management (PEM) program to complement countries initiatives," he explained. He pointed out that the CPPN is a forum of heads and senior procurement practitioners drawn from public procurement regulatory agencies and finance ministries. "It is a network set up to oversee public procurement in commonwealth countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia," he stated, adding that it operates under the auspices of the commonwealth secretariat with no formal operational structure.

Participants at the forum

Adviser of the Public Expenditure Management of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Kaifala Marah commended the NPPA and the Government of Sierra Leone for hosting this 3rd Commonwealth Technical Conference on public procurement. His statement concentrated on three key issues including, the current financial crisis and its implications on developing member countries, the relevance of the conference and their expectations, and the nature of public sector leadership in the 21st century development environment. He expressed hope that the conference will come out successful with better recommendations on the way forward for better procurement practices.

Members of the high table

In his keynote address, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Momodu Kargbo said public procurement is the process by which ministries, departments and agencies of the government, including local council, used to acquired goods, services and civil works, utilization of public funds, including planning and acquisition, inviting of offers from the public, evaluation of such offers, awarding of contracts and the monitoring of those contracts. He reiterated that the NPPA was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2004, as a replacement to the Central Tender Board in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. He disclosed further that under the former Central Tender Board, procurement responsibility was highly centralized and governed by the outmoded Financial Order of 1963. "In the current decentralization system, it has created statutory structures such as procurement committees and procurement units within procuring entities for decision making and the conduct of the day-to-day activities of procurement," the minister noted. He intimated that as a nation, we are faced with competing priorities and limited resources, while assuring that the government is very mindful of the fact that it should spend wisely since it does not have unlimited resources. "The fact has made the concept of monitoring and evaluating procurement activities against set benchmarks very important," he ended.

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