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Gambia: More Gov’t Officers Trained On Procurement


The Point via AllAfrica

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) has continued to train government officials on the Gambia public procurement system.

A recent training exercise was the fifth training workshop delivered by GPPA in recent months, which brought the total number of government officers trained to over 250, according to a press release sent to The Point.

The latest training session, held at Ocean Bay Hotel, attracted participants from government ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals, including GPA, CBG, SSHFC and GCAA, according to the release.

The press release further stated that the workshop was delivered by GPPA specialist procurement officers supported by the EU-funded Short Term Technical Assistance consultants led by E John Blunt.

The EU-funded consultants are supporting the implementation of the reform of the procurement regulatory framework, improving the procurements management capacity, and improving the GPPA information systems for procurement in line with the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS).

“THE EU and GPPA are also very pleased to announce that the EU is funding a team of Long Term Technical Assistance Consultants led by Mr Olivier Barnouin and supported by Mr John Auma, who would continue the reforms designed and already underway.”

While much reform has stated, further reform is required, especially in reinforcing key procurement structures, delivering further training and increasing procurement oversight, the release said.

GPPA is responsible for the regulation and monitoring of public procurement in The Gambia, monitoring performance of procuring organizations to ascertain efficiency and compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and instructions, providing annually a quantitative and qualitative assessment of procurement activities in The Gambia to the Minister of Finance and could refer to the Auditor-General any violations.

GPPA recently appeared before the National Assembly’s PAC/PEC where its 2013 activity report was unanimously accepted.

There is wide agreement that significant public spending takes place through the public procurement system, and a well-functioning procurement system ensures that Government funds are used effectively to achieve efficiency and value for money in the delivery of programmes and services by the government.

Up to 70 per cent of a government’s budget is spent through a public procurement process.

A specific focus of this workshop is consideration of achieving ‘Value for Money’.

Value for money does not necessarily mean the lowest price. It is a product of Quality, Time and Cost and there are clear trade-offs between the three.

For example, a higher quality outcome may involve a longer delivery timeframe or higher cost, or both. In assessing value for money, each component must be assigned a measure of relative importance.

Delivery of value for money in public procurement in The Gambia could be assisted by a number of actions including avoiding unnecessary purchases – procure only what is needed; improving the management of inventory and assets to ensure government knows what it has and where, so that a reallocation of resources rather than procurement should be the first consideration.

Focusing on competitive tendering for all procurement barriers to the participation of suppliers being removed, limiting exemptions from compliance with provisions of PPA (2014), especially for public works and utilities’ procurement and institutions, all exemptions should be item specific and of time limit.

It also ensured that all procuring organisations are regularly assessed by GPPA.

The design, development and delivery of the training workshops is just the start for GPPA, which is implementing its 2015 Training Plan with the support of the EU which will include members of National Assembly and its PAC/PEC, officers from the National Audit Office, Internal Auditors, officers from subvented institutions and members of the new Procurement Cadre.

GPPA is also planning to train suppliers and contractors on ‘How to do business with Government’.

GPPA is also planning to deliver training regionally to assist all officers who are not able to access training in Banjul.

The recent trainings demonstrate GPPA’s commitment to building the capacity of stakeholders of The Gambia public procurement system, the release added.

New Procurement Procedures to Help South Africa’s Small Solar Developers


Solar Novus Today

Shem Oirere

September 22, 2014

South Africa has raised the hopes of small solar PV developers with projects of less than 5MW, after proposing a dedicated fund to enable them meet their capital expenditure.

The Department of Energy has also announced changes to the procurement procedures Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to enable Small Independent Power Producers (IPPs) cut on costs.

The developers could soon find alternative funding after big lenders shunned them for larger projects under REIPPPP, which hopes to generate 1,450MW of solar PV by 2030. The 20-year $645 billion program is also expected to generate an additional 2,275MW from onshore wind, concentrated solar thermal, biomass solid, biogas, landfill and small hydro.

Reducing transaction costs

The fund for small renewable projects could be up and running by February next year, according to top government officials, for the  benefit of projects being developed under the Small Independent Power Producer Programme with a combined capacity of 200MW. No allocation has been given for each of the renewable energy technologies for this particular category of projects.

Energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, says the financing of projects with a capacity of less 5MW is a major challenge, but pledged government intervention in ensuring development of standard documents for the projects “to reduce transaction costs.”

She confirmed South Africa is working at a proposal for a dedicated fund to assist small IPPs with transaction costs.

“This will ensure that new entrepreneurs can also enter the renewable energy IPP market. I want to give the small IPP entities and developers the assurance that the fund will be up and running by February 2015, in time for the second round (of small IPP procurement).”

The fund will be established with the support of the German government-owned development bank KfW. The bank will make the funds available to the government on concessionary terms to enable beneficiaries to achieve their project objectives.

The Department of Energy explains that the Small Independent Power Producer Programme, whose first request for proposals was released in August 2013, is “to allow South African citizens who are, or who own or control, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and/or emerging, smaller power developers an opportunity to participate in the Renewable Energy generation sector”

The programme also affords South African power generation equipment manufacturers, “who may not have international certification the opportunity to supply equipment for the projects procured under the Small Projects IPP Procurement Programme.”

Effective implementation of the small IPP programme will also make it possible “to limit the cost‐at‐risk incurred by bidders through participating in the Small Projects IPP Procurement Programme in two stages.”

Reducing costs of procurement

Apart from the push for a dedicated fund to cushion small IPPs from high project costs, the government has also announced drastic changes to the procurement process to make it cheaper for the “little” developers to bring their projects on board within timelines.

Senior project adviser in the Private Public Partnership at the National Treasury, Karen Breytenbach, says the department of energy would make the changes before the fourth bidding round in November.

“To reduce costs incurred in submitting tender documents, the department would reduce the number of documents required,” she said.

“We are also going to change the request for proposal to make it less expensive for small IPPs to bid. We are looking at ways for bidders to submit their bids without going through sourcing support letters from banks.”

The amendments to the bidding process and proposal for fund for small-scale renewable energy projects come barely months after developers raised concerns over the requirement that they, too, be subjected to the high compliance costs under the department of energy’s REIPPPP for projects bigger than 5MW.

South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvica) Vice-Chairperson, Mike Levington, said in an interview with the Engineering News online magazine two months ago that lack of capacity in the debt market to fund smaller IPPs is a challenge because banks are not keen on them.

“Delays in the procurement processes, such as the delay in announcing the dates of the bid windows for the small-scale IPP programme, places financial strain on companies and small, medium-sized and micro-enterprises in particular,” Levington said.

The small IPPs were also subject to compliance costs that included the $4,923 that is payable to South Africa power utility Eskom for estimate letters, which gives details on how a particular project could be connected to the grid.

South African Renewable Energy Council chairperson Johan van den Berg said, “This relatively high compliance cost has a significant impact on the price that smaller projects require to be feasible.”

Until the pledge by the Department of Energy on changes to procurement of small IPPs is honoured, the project developers are subjected to the same application process like those constructing projects of larger capacity, which the industry stakeholders argue disadvantages them.

Levington said the proposed changes to RFP for the fourth round would “hopefully be extended to the small-scale IPP process in the future.”

Eskom had previously defended the estimate letter charges saying the utility has to recover its costs related to “detailed engineering, pricing and legal work to produce the cost estimates.”

“Between the first three bid windows (of the REIPPPP), Eskom processed in excess of 1,000 cost estimate letters without direct cost recovery from the potential IPPs and, therefore, this cost had to be recovered from all customers,” Eskom was quoted saying in a previous statement.

“Many of these IPPs eventually never submitted bids (for) the government procurement programme. Preparation of a cost estimate letter requires network planning and grid studies to be conducted and this is followed by a vetting process involving pricing and legal teams,” it said.

South Africa leading in PV development

Meanwhile, South Africa has now been ranked among the top 10 global leaders in solar PV development according to a July release by wiki-solar.org, which monitors deployment of utility-scale projects globally.

The country has deployed 15 solar PV plants with capacity of 503MW under the REIPPPP.  The projects include SolarReserve‘s 75MW Lesedi and 75MW Letsatsi in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces respectively.

Others are Norwegian-based firm Scatec Solar‘s 75MW Kalkbult solar plant near Petrusville in the Northern Cape, Globeleq consortium’s 50MW De Aar and 50MW Droogfontein solar plants near De Aar and Kimberley in the Northern Cape, US company SunPower‘s 22 MW Herbert and 11 MW Greefspan solar plants in the Northern Cape, which it owns jointly with Spain’s AMDA energy and South Africa’s Alt-E Technologies.

Separately, small rooftop solar PV installers in South Africa have also raised concern over the lack of legislation which hampers the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from deploying the technology to its full potential.

South African subsidiary of German solar PV mounting systems specialist,Schletter, said in July the Department of Energy should make changes to the legislation around the solar PV industry to enable that small power producers “feed power into the grid structure.”

The company’s South Africa head electrical engineer Mr Abdul-Khaaliq Mohamed said, “Grid energy management and metering must be upgraded and legislation should be revised to enable SMEs and property owners with rooftop solar PV systems to sell their excess power to the national grid.”

Mohamed said South Africa’s solar PV rooftop market is picking up in tandem with the growing number of SMEs and industries – this mainly as response to the increase in tariffs by the country’s power utility, Eskom and a desire to save more on electricity costs.

“If all SMEs strive to have solar PV cater for 20-30% of their energy needs this will reshape South Africa’s energy mix and make a massive difference to the country’s carbon footprint, thereby ensuring a sustainable energy supply for future generations.”

Written by Shem Oirere, a freelance writer based in Nairobi who specialises in renewable energy.

Nigeria: Amaechi calls for transparency in due process


The Nation

October 21, 2011

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and World Bank Vice President, Africa Region, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili have called for transparency and efficient administration of due process in the Public Procurement system.

They spoke at a Sub-National Public Procurement Forum organised by the Rivers State Bureau on Public Procurement in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Amaechi said: “Due process can only become effective if it is rapid and aimed at driving development.
“The only way due process can become effective is for it to be quick and efficient and measured on the level of delivery.
“It needs to move from the reality of the law to the reality of what needs to be.”
The Governor identified corruption as a major bottleneck to the process as it is sometimes found to be a class struggle for scarce resources and often to the detriment of the poor.

“Our due process is very peculiar, so it should not be to frustrate, it should be full of solutions,” Amaechi advised.
In a keynote address entitled: “Enhancing the effectiveness of government: The role of public procurement reforms,” Mrs.  Ezekwesili acknowledged transparency and development as the hallmark of all Public Procurement processes.
She challenged the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to indulge patience, public education and enlightenment in ensuring that the new regime of public procurement in the country takes deep root in the system.

She also commended Governor Amaechi for leading the vanguard in instituting Due Process in the country and expressed the hope for continuity. “Through your leadership we can actually see decentralization that will happen in Nigeria,” she said.
Also, World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly stressed the need for training and capacity development in public procurement implementation as she pledged the World Bank’s support in advancing Due process in Nigeria.

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