From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Civil Society Frowns at Procurement Procedures
By Augustine Samba
Dec 14, 2010, 17:14

Director, Coalition of Civil Society and Human Rights Activists (CCHRA), Mr. Charles Mambu has said in Freetown that 70% of Sierra Leone Government’s funding goes to procurement. He made this disclosure at a one-day session of national training of civil society organizations and actors on the monitoring of public procurement and service delivery in the country at the YMCA Conference Hall in Freetown on Monday 6th December, 2010.

In his delivery, Mr. Mambu lamented over the lack of transparency and accountability in the award of contracts. “Public procurement procedures have for years been plagued with lack of transparency and accountability. It is for this reason that we have decided to bring together stakeholders to come and acquire knowledge about public procurement,” he said. Mr. Mambu explained the essence of procurement as a process used by government and its agencies and departments to acquire goods, services and works to fulfill their obligation to the people, saying it also covers everything that the government and its agencies buy.  He said it is however, appalling to note, as he put it, that “Sometimes when government awards contracts they are not done on time; and sometimes those contractor entrusted with the job provide substandard services.”

He cited as an example the slow pace at which work is being carried on the Lumley-Tokeh Road and other streets in the city. He said with such pace, the time line of April 27, 2011 for the works to be completed would not be met.  He said it is in that regard that they as civil society organizations have seen the need to start engaging the government, contractors and other stakeholders in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the area of procurement. “Before CSOs start to challenge or monitor public procurement procedures we must first understand certain concepts or issues regarding procurement,” he noted.

In his contribution, the Civil Works Consultant and Head of Procurement in the office of National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) gave a brief highlight of the technicalities entailed in procurement procedures.  He said the failure to adhere to those technical aspects of procurement by stakeholders has been responsible in the past for the lots of unfinished works littered about by contractors. “This is as a result of improper procurement procedures and monitoring,” he expressed, saying “procurement should go with transparency and accountability.”

He emphasized that for the sake of transparency, fair play and good results, all contracts should be advertised and bid
ders well sensitized prior to the award of contracts. “In order to enhance our monitoring system, we now have register for contracts in every district in Sierra Leone,” he revealed.

Statements were made by representatives from SLANGO, Campaign for Good Governance and Auditor General’s Office.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.