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Leadership: a public procurement perspective


News Day

by Nyasha Chizu

May 6th, 2013

Public procurement is generally recognised as reactive, responding or processing purchase requisitions as they are raised, thereby relegating the activity to a clerical level.

This is mainly because the public procurement systems are very complicated and are very difficult to innovate for many reasons.

Some of the reasons could be lack of knowledge and expertise of the leaders, rigidity causing failure of the system to adapt to ever-changing business environment. Despite all these limitations, public procurement needs to be efficient to support public finance management systems. How then do we maximise the efficiencies of government budget execution?

A budget is a plan for a specific period that allocates resources to departments and divisions of the state in order to acquire the required goods and services. It is, therefore, a tool for allocation of funds to accomplish national or organisational objectives. In order to maximise the efficiency of budget execution, public procurement must minimise procurement costs through centralised decision making and decentralised execution.

To show innovation, public procurement must facilitate procurement of commonly used supplies by establishing annual unit price contracts for products in continuous demand.

This inevitably raises efficient budget execution when economies of scale achieve savings at a national level. Institutions such as hospital and local authorities have commonly used supplies that can be procured using this system.

The move, if adopted, will not only save on procurement expenditure itself, but also set a budget saving pattern for all government agencies promoting best practices.

Spooling of commonly used supplies would ensure that the public procurement system puts in place appropriate quality management techniques. Lower priced acquisition or reduced budgets will not compromise quality given the implication of poor quality on a national supplier. The volume of the business becomes attractive that no sane businessman would want to lose the contract due to compromised quality.

While the objective of public procurement is to improve efficiency, the systems need to be transparent and fair. There is generally a conflict of efficiency and transparency in public procurement. Private sector procurement systems are generally regarded efficient because of the elimination of bureaucractic procedures that characterise public procurement.

In the private sector, decisions are made fast and buyers are made accountable for their decisions. It might, therefore, be necessary to train in the public sectors to acquire private sector procurement methods for the efficiency of public procurement systems.

Training alone will not be enough, appropriate systems that promote ethical behaviour are necessary. Public procurement officials need to subscribe to a professional organisation recognised by the government so that moral of buyers is upheld.

This is necessary because public procurement requires that personnel are ethical, as it operates amidst commercial interests of numerous bidding participants. Abiding to a set code of ethic will then be mandatory and appropriate punishment for offenders will be enshrined in the system.

To show innovation, public procurement must facilitate procurement of commonly used supplies by establishing annual unit price contracts for products in continuous demand

Procurement can, therefore, assume a leadership role in the efficient use of budgets through adoption of strategies that minimise costs of inputs in the public sector.

Nyasha Chizu is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply writing in his personal capacity. Feedback: chizunyasha@yahoo.com

AfDB and EBRD to Launch Assessment of Tunisia’s Public Procurement System


AllAfrica

April 23, 2013

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are jointly organizing the North Africa and Southern Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Regional Public procurement Conference on Morocco on April 22-23 in Marrakesh, Morocco to launch a report on the assessment of the public procurement system of Tunisia.

The conference, which will provide Tunisia an action plan to improve its public procurement system will include discussions on public procurement initiatives, reforms and assessments in Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

Key Speakers at the conference will include experts and representatives from the AfDB, EBRD, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

The AfDB collaborated with the World Bank, the European Union and the Tunisian Government to complete the assessment of Tunisia’s public procurement system in 2012, as part of the Bank’s efforts to promote sound and efficient business practices in Africa.

EU donors freeze aid to Uganda over corruption


Bloomberg News

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — More Western donors are freezing aid to Uganda after a scam in which up to $13 million in donor money was embezzled in the office of Uganda’s prime minister. The aid freeze is the kind of action long demanded by transparency campaigners who charge that the money oils a corrupt system.

Uganda has a reputation as a corrupt country, but the latest scandal — brought to light by the country’s auditor general in October — is remarkable for its details: More than $220,000 was spent on gas in four days, millions of dollars were diverted to buy luxury vehicles for top officials, and millions were deposited into individuals’ private accounts.

Because the money was for the rehabilitation of parts of northern Uganda devastated by decades of warlord Joseph Kony‘s brutal insurgency, the scandal has provoked a lasting rage around the country and inspired aid cuts that foreign donors had been reluctant to inflict on this East African country.

Roberto Ridolfi, the head of the European Union delegation to Uganda, said in a statement late Tuesday that the scandal and those before it amounted to “a breach of trust” on the part of Ugandan authorities. Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Britain and Denmark have already cut or cancelled all aid to Uganda over the scam, saying they have lost faith in the government’s capacity to spend money responsibly.

Western donors fund up to 25 percent of Uganda’s budget.

Ridolfi said the EU and its development partners in Uganda “will withhold pending budget support disbursements and any further commitments for an initial period of up to (six) months.”

The donors are giving Uganda until April to pay back all the lost money, investigate the scandal, and take action against all the suspects. But investigations of this nature, when they happen, rarely produce the intended results in Uganda, where corruption charges are often politicized and then dismissed. This year three ministers with close ties to President Yoweri Museveni who faced corruption charges were set free by a judge who said they were scapegoats. The three politicians swiftly returned to their jobs […]

Some campaigners who had long urged donors to act tougher against official waste and graft say the audacity of the latest scandal vindicates their calls for the dismantling of an often-comfortable relationship between the state and its donors. They want foreign aid to be channeled through non-state actors engaged in service delivery and for donors to work directly with contractors in cases where the authorities cannot be trusted with cash.

“For the first time the donors are coming out and putting clear benchmarks and I think it’s a good move,” said Cissy Kagaba of the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, a watchdog group. “But there are other alternatives they can use to ensure that the money reaches the intended beneficiaries.” Read the full article here.

SENEGAL: Overfishing – culprits and consequences


 

IRIN

DAKAR, 18 July 2012 (IRIN) – Senegal stopped renewing agreements allowing European fishing vessels in its waters in 2006, but now an expanding artisanal fleet and local industrial boats enjoying exclusivity under lax regulations are being blamed for malpractice and degrading the country’s main economic and food resource.

“In terms of environmental degradation, the responsibility is shared. Artisanal fishermen are responsible for habitat destruction. Although industrial vessels and foreign ships are often blamed, artisanal fishermen contribute hugely to the disappearance of species,” said Moustapha Thiam, the director of Senegal’s Maritime Fishing Authority, a Fisheries Ministry department.

Foreign industrial trawlers are often criticized for overfishing off the West African coast, where some governments are also accused of issuing unregulated licences that overlook the consequences to local economies and livelihoods.

Industrial fishing has really reduced. Small-scale fishing is quite dynamic,” Thiam told IRIN. Of the 409,429 metric tonnes of fish caught in 2010, artisanal fishermen contributed 370,448 tonnes, according to the Maritime Fishing Authority.

Fishing is Senegal’s foremost economic activity, employing around 15 percent of the workforce – about 600,000 people – and is the main foreign currency earner. Local consumption is 28kg per person per year, twice the world average, and 75 percent of protein in the diet comes from fish.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that there were around 16,000 small fishing boats in Senegal in 2011, compared to about 5,000 in 1982. [Situation de l’immatriculation des embarcations de type artisanal]

“It is the sector with the biggest socio-economic impact locally,” said Ahmed Diamé, a Greenpeace Africa oceans campaigner. “Among the problems are the use of the wrong net size and dynamite… With free access to the resource, [artisanal] fishing has significantly increased. We have noted a reduction in catches since 2000. There is also a decline in the quality of fish caught – they are smaller,” he noted.

To boost the sector, the government subsidizes fuel and equipment for the local fishermen. “What needs to be revised is the quest for short-term profit. This is what drives the sector and what kills it. There is free access to the resource because fishing is not regulated,” said Papa Gora Ndiaye, secretary general of West Africa Fishing Policy Network (REPAO), a regional NGO.

“When we were kids, we could see big fish caught. But nowadays, we need to go very far to catch anything,” said Yakhya, a fisherman in Soumbédioune, one of the fishing ports along the shores of Senegal’s seaside capital, Dakar.

In the days when local boatmen navigated by instinct, returning to a rich spot happened by chance. “There is no more mystery. When I was young, if you found a good spot, it could take a few days to find it again,” said retired fisherman Papa Nguer. “Now all the boats have GPS [global positioning system].”

The government is trying to regulate the sector, registering and controlling the licences issued to local fishermen, but critics argue that these measures are not enough in a country where fishing is the main source of income for millions.

“The state has to decide to reduce the fishing capacity. It is useless to have fishing permits if the fishing fleet is untouched,” said Gaoussou Guèye, the head of a local association for responsible artisanal fishing.

“There are subsistence and economic issues at stake. The problem is to control without generating social catastrophes,” said Captain Djibril Diawara, the head of operations at the Fishing Monitoring and Protection Authority (DSPM).

Few industrial vessels have ventured into territorial waters since Dakar stopped renewing Fishing Partnership Agreements with the European Union. Now, the industrial fishing fleet is mainly local, others in joint venture with Europeans and there have been accusations of corruption and favouritism.

Authorities say the fleet is mostly old, poses environmental risks and often fishes in protected areas. The DSPM has six boats, none of which can reach the high seas, a plane that has been under repair for two years, and a staff of 150.

“It is an aging fleet. Most boats are more than 30 years old, which means they have more destructive fishing practices,” said the Maritime Fishing Department’s Thiam.

With the support of a programme funded by the World Bank, the government plans to reduce the number of artisanal boats by 25 percent and ground the old industrial fishing fleet, Thiam said.

Implementing the plan will be arduous. “Suggesting that the state should stop subsidizing fishermen to reduce fishing capacity raises questions about the risk of fish becoming more expensive for the Senegalese people,” said Greenpeace’s Diamé.

”Experts call for sustainable fishing and environmental protection. “The industry should be bolstered, providing it with means to use the resources in a sustainable and profitable manner.” He called for the creation of marine reserves in the high seas where fishing is banned.

“Fishing and the number of fishermen should be reduced,” Guèye said. “Not everyone can be a fisherman or a fishmonger. There should be a fisheries management plan – we cannot have congestion,” he suggested.
“It is up to the government to set up these plans. It has the responsibility to manage the resources for the future generation.”

 

Senegal cancels fishing authorizations


AllAfrica.com

May 3rd, 2012

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

Dakar, Senegal — Greenpeace welcomes the decision of the Senegalese government to cancel licenses of pelagic fishing vessels issued to 29 foreign trawlers from Russia, Comoros, Lithuania, Saint Vincent Grenadine and Belize.

“These kinds of licenses are a direct threat to employment and food security for millions of Senegalese who have been dependent on fishing for centuries,” says Raoul Monsembula, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace.

West Africa‘s fish stocks are severely pressured by over-exploitation, mainly by destructive high-tech Russian, Asian and European vessels that can in a single day capture, process, and freeze 200-250 tons of fish.

“This corresponds to the fish consumption by at least 9,000 Senegalese during afull year” (1) FAO 2007.

Greenpeace has, for the last 18 months, called for the cancellation of the licenses and less than a month ago, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was patrolling the waters of Senegal and Mauritania to put the spotlight on the systematic plunder of West African waters by foreign vessels. “Most of the trawlers encountered by the Arctic Sunrise were European vessels or in some way linked to Europe, including Russia(2).

On 27 April, EU Fisheries ministers got together in Luxemburg to discuss the reform of EU fishing rules, known as the common fisheries policy (CFP), but failed to take necessary steps to tackle the excessive fleet capacity of the European fishing fleet. “The same week as the fisheries ministers failed to make progress on fisheries reform, the EU had to cancel the permits for its vessels in Mauritanian waters months before time simply because these giants had used up their quota in no time, says Pavel Klinckhamers, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace. “If European ministers really want to tackle the issue of a bloated fleet, they have to act now and choose sustainable, low impact fisheries,” he argues.

Greenpeace urges the government of Senegal to declare an emergency moratorium on the allocation of fishing licenses, as a sustainable policy has not yet been defined. Greenpeace also calls on European governments and fisheries ministers to support a new Common Fisheries Policy that tackles Europe’s bloated fleet by scrapping the most destructive and oversized vessels, including factory trawlers operating in the waters of developing countries (3).

1. Source FAO, 2007.

2. From15 February to 15 April 2012 Greenpeace completed an expedition in Senegal and Mauritania to highlight overfishing. A total of 71 vessels were observed and three out of four were found to have parent companies in either EU or other non-EU European countries. More than a third bore the flag of an EU country and another third were sailing under flags of convenience. In Senegal, as much as 90% of the vessels were in some way linked to Europe, mostly Eastern Europe, (including Russia) and in Mauritania, this was the case for 80%.

3. The European Common Fisheries Policy, CFP, is supposed to ensure sound and sustainable fisheries. The reality is that it has failed. The same extensive and destructive fishing fleet which has pushed Europe’s fish stocks to the brink now allows European fleets to hoover up fish form seas outside of Europe, including in West Africa. A full review of the CFP, which takes place every ten years, is currently under way and provides a unique chance to end overfishing by EU vessels, in and outside of Europe, and begin the transition to sustainable low-impact practices.

South Africa: Rush for renewable energy


Mail&Guardian Online

By Lynley Donnelly

April 20th, 2012

Billions of rands of investment are flowing into South Africa as a result of the government’s plans to move towards renewable energy. The rush is a boon to South Africa’s nascent renewables market and major companies from across the globe are partnering in the first round of the independent power producer procurement programme for renewable energy. 

But the test, according to experts, will be in how the market develops once projects begin delivering power in an environment in which complicated ownership structures are becoming a key feature of the companies emerging as the forerunners.

In December, the 28 preferred bidders in the state’s independent power producer procurement programme were announced and the second round of bidding closed in March. The first 1 451 megawatts allocated out of a total 3 725MW were divided across wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power. By June 19 the first-round bidders will be expected to complete financial closure on their projects and begin construction (see “The Players”).

Gareth Blanckenberg, energy and power systems research analyst at consultancy Frost & Sullivan, said although the ownership of the bidding companies was complicated because of the structure of the various consortiums, many large international renewables players linked to these projects were becoming active in South Africa.

The ownership structures were complicated for two reasons, he said. Firstly, the local-content requirements had resulted in many larger international companies partnering with local companies and communities. Secondly, the cost of investing in renewables was expensive and required a lot of equity.

Considering that renewable energy is a fledgling industry, the scale of investment, at this stage estimated to be at least R50-billion, is highly significant, according to Greg Nott, director at Werksmans Attorneys. “We are seeing immediate growth in a very short period of time,” he said, and the entire scope of the country’s economy would be affected by this development, from grassroots and community levels upwards.

The procurement process had attracted the interest of international groups, finance houses, manufacturers and development finance institutions. Renewables development had “many moving parts” across a range of sectors in the economy and as such invited careful scrutiny, Nott said. A test of our emerging renewables sector would be to see how these new companies operated, given the complex nature of their structures.

“The fundamentals of good business practice, such as creating good cash flows and maintaining good governance and operating performance will have to remain a focus.”

Nott said there was a great deal of interest in establishing manufacturing capacity in South Africa, particularly from China in terms of solar photovoltaic power. This was in addition to interest from companies in Scandinavian countries and the European Union, which had a longer history in renewable energy and manufacturing.

But there was substantially bigger interest from more traditional partners in the realm of engineering, procurement and construction, Nott said. In addition, companies were seeking to “root themselves here” ahead of expected future growth and to take advantage of opportunities in the rest of Africa. The potential for local manufacturing was in large part thanks to government requirements for local procurement and economic development.

Among the challenges to maintaining the growth of the renewables sector locally was to ensure that the market was not treated in isolation from economic developments around the globe, said Nott. “We can’t see ourselves as an island.”

Because a number of investors hailed from Europe, which is beset by a sovereign debt crisis, threats of ratings downgrades for countries in the EU would have an impact on any investors from these countries, said Nott. Another key challenge was the government’s capacity to regulate the industry and develop and adapt policy to ensure it could function.

This assertion was echoed by Michael Bean of professional services firm Step Strategic Venturing. He said the industry was still highly regulated, which made it difficult for smaller companies to enter the market as more than merely service providers to larger firms. It was critical that regulatory practices and processes were managed properly and operated smoothly, particularly because more independent power producers were expected to come on stream.

Just as important was how the country’s grid coped with a more diverse set of power suppliers, which were expected to increase dramatically in the coming years to meet South Africa’s energy shortage. The entrance of independent power producers into the market meant improved technologies were needed both to allow and account for the power that would be flowing back into the grid from a more widely distributed set of power generators, Bean said.

Money still guesswork
The amount of money that will be spent to establish green power in South Africa has been estimated at a possible R120-billion, as reported by the Mail & Guardian in February.

The Integrated Resource Plan 2010 allocates about 17 800MW to renewable energy in the next 20 years.

Frost & Sullivan’s Gareth Blanckenberg said it was difficult to quantify just how much money would be invested in renewables. The plan was still subject to review and the prices of renewable technologies would decrease in coming years. Simultaneously, fossil fuels such as coal might become subject to carbon taxes in a bid to mitigate climate change.

Blanckenberg cited research done by consultancy firm Black & Veatch for the United States-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which priced the installation of utility-scale onshore wind at $1 980/kW and at $2 830/kW for photovoltaic power solar for installations of more than 10MW. The numbers did allow for a 25% uncertainty rate.

But, based on these numbers, a very rough estimate brought the allocations for wind and solar photovoltaic power alone to investments of $133-billion and $190-billion respectively.

However, the manufacturing and installation costs of these technologies are declining all the time. According to Jochen Magerfleisch, chief operating officer of Juwi Renewable Energies, the cost of solar installations has dropped by 50% over the past year. “In the last three years we have seen a dramatic decrease in the cost of renewables.”

This is in part thanks to the increase in production and economies of scale as demand for green energy increases.

Magerfleisch said South Africa’s local-content requirements were sensible, but the global supply for items such as solar modules was twice the demand — a factor the country had to bear in mind when making decisions about establishing manufacturing capacity locally. — Lynley Donnelly

The players
Licence hearings held by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in March shed some light on South Africa’s green boomers and the trend towards a range of ownership consortiums was clearly evident.

The largest of the projects is the 135MW Cookhouse wind farm being developed by African Clean Energy Developments, 50% of which is held by African Infrastructure Investment Managers, a joint venture split equally between Macquarie Africa and Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa.

The other 50% is held by African Power Corporation, a Mauritius-registered company incorporated for the sole purpose of its investment in the consortium.

Apart from financing supplied by Nedbank, Standard Bank and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), key partners include Indian-based wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon, listed on the National Stock Exchange of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

But African Infrastructure Investment Managers is also a partner in the Hopefield wind farm being developed by Umoyo Energy in the Western Cape. The project is among the top 10 bidders in the first round and promises a R1.5-billion investment. According to its presentation, Umoyo’s shareholders consist of funds managed by African Infrastructure Investment Managers, including the Kagiso Infrastructure Empowerment Fund and the Infrastructural Developments Environmental Assets Fund, a Nedbank investment arm, as well as grassroots entities such as a company owned by the Hopefield wind farm local community.

The second-largest project is the Jeffreys Bay wind farm being developed by South African Mainstream Renewable Power. The company is a joint venture between the local arm of Mainstream Renewable Energy and home-grown Genesis Eco Energy.

Mainstream is a well-known Ireland-based renewable energy development company. Its South Africa arm is also involved in two of the other preferred bids, both for solar photovoltaic power installations in De Aar and Kimberley in the Northern Cape.

The third-largest of the bids is the 100MW concentrated solar plant being developed by the KaXu Solar One Consortium in Pofadder. Spain-based renewables company Abengoa Solar owns 51% of the company, according to its presentation, the IDC owns 29% and the remaining 20% is owned by a community trust.

Between the KaXu project and a second one — the 50MW Khi Solar One project in Upington — Abengoa will be committing R10-billion in investment.

Other preferred bidders include the 28MW Soutpan Solar Park being developed by Erika Energy in the Waterberg in Limpopo. The holding company’s shareholders are Astronergy Solar Korea, a subsidiary of China-based Chint, and the United States-listed Monsanto Electronic Materials Company.

Burundi: A Deepening Corruption Crisis


Africa Report  N°18521 Mar 2012

Translation from French.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Despite the establishment of anti-corruption agencies, Burundi is facing a deepening corruption crisis that threatens to jeopardise a peace that is based on development and economic growth bolstered by the state and driven by foreign investment. The “neopatrimonialist” practices of the party in office since 2005 has relegated Burundi to the lowest governance rankings, reduced its appeal to foreign investors, damaged relations with donors; and contributed to social discontent. More worrying still, neopatrimonialism is undermining the credibility of post-conflict institutions, relations between former Tutsi and new Hutu elites and cohesion within the ruling party, whose leaders are regularly involved in corruption scandals. In order to improve public governance, the Burundian authorities should “walk the talk” and take bold steps to curtail corruption. Civil society should actively pursue its watchdog role and organise mass mobilisation against corruption and donors should prioritise good governance.

Since Burundi became a republic in 1966, state capture, mostly by the Tutsi elite, was at the centre of politics, and the unfair wealth distribution fuelled conflict. While the 1993-2003 civil war has not threatened the Tutsi political and economic domination, it has increased corruption and favoured the rise of an ethnically diverse oligarchy.

When the CNDD-FDD (Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces de défense de la démocratie) rebellion came to power in 2005, it intended not only to transfer political power from the Tutsi to the Hutu but also to improve governance. The new authorities pledged to fight corruption and created state structures to this effect. However, the first corruption scandals involving the CNDD-FDD dignitaries and state officials watered down the hope of a more equitable wealth distribution.

In addition to the politicisation of the civil service, the ruling party captured the public sector and its resources. It is coveting the private sector by trying to extend its control over the banking sector. It is also interfering in privatisation processes, thwarting efforts to improve the business climate. In such a small economy, where the state maintains a prominent role, the monopolisation of public and private resources risks derailing the peacebuilding process.

The president took the lead in the fight against corruption to improve Burundi’s declining image and address the impact of this pervasive corruption on foreign aid – which amounts to half of the state budget. He launched a “zero tolerance” campaign and designed a national strategy for good governance. However, as the core problem has not been correctly identified, this approach is doomed to fail. The solution is not to “get the talk right”, to “get the institutions right” and to “get the legal framework right”; it is to change the power relations that undermine good governance.

The national strategy for good governance includes all the necessary technical ingredients to fight corruption: improved legal framework, citizens’ access to information, independent monitoring and regulatory organisations, depoliticised civil service managers, transparent tendering processes and public servants recruitments, and reform of the natural resources sector.

What is missing is a clear political agenda. Civil society organisations should create a mass movement against corruption through the establishment of an anti-corruption forum gathering the private sector, rural organisations and universities. They should also conduct independent citizens’ surveys and assessments and scrutinise the government’s anti-corruption performance. Donors should prioritise the fight against corruption and reconsider their engagement if governance does not improve. Now that the anti-corruption agenda has become a public policy through the national strategy for good governance, it is up to civil society and donors to create the conditions for its implementation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To create independent institutional checks and balances

To the Government and the Parliament:

1.  Establish the High Court of Justice as required by articles 233, 234, 235 and 236 of the constitution and strengthen the statutory safeguards for the independence of the judiciary, such as the revision of the composition and powers of the Superior Council of the Judiciary and the principle of tenure of judges.

2.  Review the anti-corruption law to extend the powers of the anti-corruption agencies, strengthen the control of illicit enrichment and protect informants.

To the Government:

3.  Remove the supervision authority of the executive branch over the General State Inspectorate and the regulatory agencies so that they become independent administrative authorities.

To improve governance and transparency in the public sector

To the Government:

4.  Activate the recruitment committee of the civil service ministry, integrate civil society in its composition and publicise widely the recruitment and appeal procedures.

5.  Ensure the declarations of assets and conflicts of interest are mandatory and public for all politicians and senior members of the Burundi Revenue Agency, procurement units, and privatisation and anti-cor­rup­tion institutions.

6.  Include civil society representatives in the procurement units within the ministries; limit by decree the categories of public contracts with a secret nature incompatible with any publicity or competition; and change the composition of the committee in charge of the qualification of these contracts by entrusting the chairmanship to a senior judge.

7.  Pass a law on access to administrative documents and publish on the Internet financial details of the state and public companies, such as the budget adopted and implemented by ministries and agencies, budget amend­ments, other public accounts, procurement contracts, etc.

8.  Reform the legal and institutional framework of the oil and mining sector, drawing on international good practice and civil society involvement, and join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

To create the conditions for the implementation of reforms

To Civil Society:

9.  Establish the anti-corruption forum set out in the national strategy for good governance involving companies, universities and rural and urban associations, and establish a citizen’s oversight commission to mon­i­tor public procurement practices, influence peddling, corruption in the land administration and illicit enrichment of public servants and politicians.

10.  Conduct social audits and an assessment of the “national integrity system”, the government’s anti-cor­rup­tion performance, the business climate and privatisation processes.

To the European Union:

11.  Ensure the fight against corruption features prominently in the dialogue with Burundi, prioritise governance in the eleventh European Development Fund and conduct an assessment of the aid by the European Court of Auditors.

To the other donors (African Development Bank, World Bank, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, France, the U.S., Japan, etc.):

12.  Support civil society efforts against corruption, including training to improve knowledge of public finance, procurement and legal control.

13.  Include social audits in development projects and suspend projects where corruption has been proved.

14.  Link budget support to the implementation of independent institutional checks and balances and to progress in terms of governance and transparency of the administration.

15.  Conduct a performance audit on donor-backed institutional checks and balances and support them only after securing guarantees of their independence and conducting a performance audit.

16.  Ask the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to publicly release its assessment of the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Access the full report here


Kenya: Maintenance of roads to cost Sh9 billion


The Star

February 28, 2012

The Kenya National Highways Authority will spend Sh9 billion for routine maintenance of major roads this financial year. Of this, 80 per cent of the contracts have already been awarded, in a bid to ensure that Kenya’s highways are maintained to international standards, said KeNHA director general Meshack Kidenda. “We have distributed the road maintenance budget to all parts of the country. We will no longer tolerate shoddy road works,” Kidenda said in a statement.

At the same time, Kidenda said the authority has complied with all procurement guidelines as set out by the Public Procurement and Oversight Authority. “Apart from the PPOA, we are under constant audit from the ADB (Africa Development Bank), the World Bank and the European Union. We are happy to report that we are in full compliance to these guidelines,” he said.

The Director General said KeNHA has awarded more than 1,500 major tenders since inception, and none has been overturned by PPOA over procedural issues. “Only four contractors have appealed against tender awards from this authority. And in the four cases, we have gone ahead to win the appeals, a move that vindicates our tender committees,” said Kidenda.

He said KeNHA is benchmarking itself with its counterparts in the developed world, adding that the authority is on the path to becoming a centre of excellence in public procurement. “We want to perfect the system through the introduction of best procurement practices. We are constantly in touch with PPOA to ensure that this milestone is achieved in a year’s time,” he said. On delays in paying contractor certificates, Kidenda said road contractors are paid within 48 hours once the money has been released from the Treasury and Kenya Roads Board.

However, he said only certificates that are certified by auditors and project engineers are paid within that period. “We have devised a check-back system to ensure that all the procurement processes are transparent. At no time do we compromise on this,” he said. However, Kidenda said there is need to continually review the PPOA Act, in line with rising inflation trends and other developments in the country. He said the tender committee threshold of Sh500,000 was on the lower side, especially for road contractors.

Meanwhile, KeNHA has appealed to the public to stop vandalising road signs and bridges, adding that the move is a major setback to road safety. Kidenda said vandalism of road signs has increased in the last three months and there is need to stop the vice. A case in point is on Mombasa Road, near General Motors, where vandals have looted the safety grills, leaving motorists exposed.

UK must monitor aid for infrastructure more closely, report says


The Guardian

The UK government must do a better job of keeping track of the £412.9m channelled through multilateral development banks for infrastructure projects in the developing world, a parliamentary report said on Friday.

The Department for International Development is one the largest contributors to the EU, the World Bank and the African Development Bank for infrastructure spending, but the UK parliamentary international development committee expressed concern that DfID does not monitor spending as effectively as it could. Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, has pledged to get value for money for Britain’said budget, which was protected from cuts under last year’s spending review at a time of belt-tightening at home against a bleak economic backdrop.

The report is generally positive about DfID’s role. It praised the department’s innovative approach, particularly through its support of mechanisms such as the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facilitythat helps develop legal and regulatory frameworks to maximise the benefits to poorer groups. There is also praise for the Private Infrastructure Development Group, established by DfID to help stimulate investments from donorsRead more.

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