The Star (Nairobi)

19 November 2012

Kenya: Tough New Rule for Procurement Officers

NEW tough guidelines for procurement professionals have been introduced to promote best practice in the sector. Procurement personnel will henceforth be guided by the just released code of ethics and professional conduct for supplies practitioners.

The code has been developed by the Kenya Institute of Supplies Management, the professional association for procurement professionals in Kenya.

For instance, the code states that procurement officers shall not accept gifts, benefits or favours from clients where this may influence supply decision.

In addition, procurement managers shall not accept hospitality or travel subsistence payments from a supplier during product familiarisation tours. Such payments can only be undertaken on a contractual arrangement between the supplying and the procurement entity.

"The promulgation of these guidelines recognises concern that have been raised, from time to time, by the general public and stakeholders concerning the conduct of procurement in Kenya," said Chris Oanda, the institute's chairman during the launch on Friday evening.

And in what may come as big relief for small and medium companies, the code states that suppliers should not be excluded simply because they are small or new in the market.

"Members should be aware of opportunities to support the local community and SMEs while maximasing on global sourcing opportunities," the guidelines say in part.

Interestingly, the code states that procurement professionals should not contravene local and international laws or human rights decrees and as such should avoid purchasing items produced using forced, bonded or non-voluntary labour.

The code is also likely to bring more transparency in procurement with a clause stating that suppliers shall be made to fully understand the procurement process, including procedures, requirements, selection and evaluation criteria.

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