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Government launches Digital Procurement System

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Aug 18, 2020 ,

By Wahiidah Namboowa

 

Government has launched digitlisation of procurement process dubbed electronic government procurement (e-GP) system which is to first be enrolled in six government entities for the first 30days. The system which was first enrolled at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) on Monday, is expected to provide a comprehensive procurement information as well as improving transparency and accountability in procurement procedures.

Godfrey Ssemugooma a commissioner in the ministry of finance orienting Aviation staff on how to migate onto the digital procurement system

While launching the system, Godfrey Ssemugooma the commissioner from the ministry of finance, planning and economic development noted that the e-gp system will enable online self registration of suppliers and bidders. “It will enable business continuity even in face of pandemics like the Covid19,” stated Ssemugooma, adding that the system will warrant effective oversight from the office of the auditor general plus the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA).

The paperless system which was supposed to be launched last year, has been developed by Uganda’s ministry of Information and Communications technology (ICT). The first entities and government ministries where the system is to be enrolled include, UCAA, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), National Information Technology Authority (NITA-Uganda), Uganda Institute of Information and communication technology and the ministry of ICT. “Subsequently, this system is going to be rolled out in Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, two local governments, ministry of water and environment, PPDA and ministry of finance,” added Ssemugooma.

Fred Bamwesigye the Ag. director general for UCAA said, by considering the aviation authority among the first entities to be enrolled on the e-gp system, is a vote of confidence in the services rendered. “It will be pertinent for consultants and suppliers to follow and adhere to the procurement principles and practices as laid down in the PPDA Act. This shall go a long way in improving both efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making by the contracts committee,” expressed Bamwesigye.

PPDA and UCAA staff having a photo moment

During a providers’ workshop organised by UCAA at imperial resort hotel last year, Florence Nakyeyune the (then) manager in charge of the new system noted that government was to save 60% of its revenue spent on the bidding process. “A survey that we carried out among 737 bidders found the paper process a burden to bidders as 54% claimed the process involves delays in payment while 53% cited corruption tendencies in the bidding process. 41% noted that specifications are not always clear whereas 36% said, they lacked knowledge of available opportunities and 46% intimated of how the non-refundable bidding fees were extremely costly to their capital,” remarked Nakyeyune.

However, Emmanuel Wepukhulu from Roma furnishings company, expressed fears that most companies in Uganda do not have proper information technology structures, only using laptops and internet cafes. “Which other mechanisms shall be put in place, in case this system is overwhelmed with loads of applications and data. What is the maximum file capacity to be accommodated by the system,” inquired Wephukulu.

In response, Ssemugooma explained that the system load capacity is still open, whereby bidders can load any weight of data and information without limitation. “But we may regulate this capacity as time goes by,” noted Ssemugooma. He was however, reluctant to reveal the amount of money incurred by government to develop the e-gp system, though assured that the integration process and training of suppliers, will be carried out free of charge.

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