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Why Public Procurement Disclosure is important for Development in Africa?

  • 31/05/2024

Transparency and accountability are the cornerstones of sustainable economic growth, especially in developing regions like Africa. When it comes to public procurement, ensuring open disclosure of contracts, tenders, and expenditures plays a vital role. This is in fostering trust, reducing corruption, and driving positive change.



 According to recent studies, countries with transparent procurement processes experience higher levels of foreign investment. They have increased competition among suppliers. As well improved efficiency in government spending. Shedding light on the use and allocation of public funds, governments are able to attract more investors. They are also able to promote a competitive business environment. This benefits both local businesses and international stakeholders.



For more than 4 years, Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) has partnered with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA). Their partnership is in promoting efficient public procurement in Uganda. AFIC had a conversation with Mr. Edwin Muhumuza, the Director of Corporate Affairs at PPDA then, on this partnership. He told us about its contribution to improved public procurement in Uganda.



Qn. Tell us about the journey of adopting Open Contracting as a practice at PPDA and its contribution to improve public procurement performance in Uganda? 


The principles of the public procurement legal framework in Uganda include transparency and accountability. As such, openness in public contracting is one of the goals of the PPDA as a regulator of public procurement in Uganda.



The PPDA Act of 2003 compelled Public agencies to publish some information related to contracting on their notice boards and the PPDA website. However, there are two limitations with this: compliance was low and only limited information was being published; secondly, non-state actors and the public did not have easy access to this information in a form that could enable them to monitor contract implementation.


In 2012, the PPDA entered into an MoU with a number of CSOs under the Uganda Contract Monitoring Coalition (UCMC). The partnership is to encourage open contracting and also allow CSOs to monitor contracts in their localities. In 2014, the PPDA Amendments Act enhanced the transparency measures in public procurement For example, entities were now required to publish their procurement plans in addition to best evaluated bidder notices as well as contract details. In 2015, the PPDA developed a Government Procurement Portal (GPP) on which contract information was to be published and made accessible to the public. 



Qn. What was AFIC’s role in this process? 


Africa Freedom of Information Centre has played a crucial role at all stages on the open contracting journey. It played a leading role in the creation of the contracts monitoring coalition; it made proposals to Parliament for opening up public procurement contracts and has supported both financially and technically the incorporation of OCDS in the Government Procurement Portal.



AFIC through their monitoring activities have also produced a number of reports that have supplemented Government oversight. AFIC has also engaged in training Government officials, other CSOs, the media and other stakeholders on open contracting. It’s involvement in advocacy to improve the legal and policy framework is behind the enabling environment for open contracting. PPDA has an MoU with AFIC on work that strengthens our partnership with them.



Qn. Elaborate more about the recent framework you started with civil society and the PDEs in Uganda 


The framework was intended to rationalize the relationship between PPDA and CSOs, spelling out the roles and responsibilities of all parties. It is intended to govern and regulate the relationship between CSOs and Government on contract monitoring Qn. What more can be done to improve the levels of citizens’ participation in public procurement in Uganda? There is a need for more capacity building and information sharing to enable citizens’ demand for accountability. There is also a need to act on the reports submitted by CSOs so that citizens get confidence in the government once it acts on the feedback given.



Qn. What lessons do you think other African countries can learn from Uganda’s case on disclosure of public procurement information?


They should develop and regularize relationships with CSOs and work closely with them. They should also develop an enabling legal and policy framework for information disclosure and tools such as procurement portals on which information on procurement contracts can be found.



To harness the full potential of public procurement as a catalyst for economic development in Africa, it is essential to prioritize transparency at every stage of the process. From pre-tender planning to post-award contract management, clear disclosure mechanisms can help build confidence among citizens, investors, and other key stakeholders.



Embracing transparency in public procurement practices, African nations will be able to unlock new opportunities for growth, innovation, and inclusive development. 


🤝 What are your thoughts on the importance of public procurement disclosure in driving economic progress? Share your insights in the comment box’

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