The Star (Nairobi)

6 January 2014

Kenya: State Bans Import of Locally Available Goods

PUBLIC entities should not import goods that can be sourced from local manufacturers, new public procurement regulations say. Items falling under this category include motor vehicles, plant and equipment that are assembled in Kenya, construction materials and other material used in the transmission and conduction of electricity made in Kenya.

Others are furniture, textiles, foodstuffs and other goods made or locally available in Kenya. These goods will now enjoy exclusive preference, the regulations says in part as published by the Public Procurement Oversight Authority last week.

"This means, public entities are not allowed to import these categories of items as they should now be sourced from within Kenya," the PPOA circular said.

Further, the cost for tender documents for government supplies has been slashed from Sh5,000 to Sh1,000 to encourage more youth and women to participate in state contracts.

And if a potential supplier acquires the tender documents electronically, he or she must get the documents free of charge. These are some of the provisions contained in the ammended public procurement and disposal regulations 2013 and published by the Public Procurement Oversight Authority last week.

"The regulations also allow acquisition of bid bonds by tenderers such as youth, women and persons with disability from deposit taking microfinance institutions, sacco societies, Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund," says the PPOA notice.

Small or micro enterprises or enterprises owned by disadvantaged groups such as youth, women and persons with disability who intend to participate in public procurement are now required to apply for registration with the National Treasury or the respective county treasury within which they operate.

The new regulations have also drastically slashed the mandatory period of procurement processes with the provision that the tender award period must not exceed 30 days from date of tender opening.

Pre-qualification period has been slashed from 14 to seven days with preparation of international tenders cut from minimum 30 to 21 days. Preparation of national tenders will now take a minimum 14 days from the earlier 21 days.

Exclusive preference to citizen contractors will be given to those with Sh1 billion for road works, construction materials and other materials used in transmission and conduction of electricity provided the material is made in Kenya, Sh500 million for others works, Sh100 million for good and Sh50 million for services.

The procuring entities will in addition be required to maintain standing lists of suppliers bi-annually and submit to the PPOA within 14 days, submit details of contract awards on quarterly basis and provide reasons to unsuccessful tenderers for their failure.

The regulations have also consolidated the tender evaluation, negotiations and inspection and acceptance committees into one committee to be known as tender processing committee.

Additionally, procuring entities are no longer required to wait for authorities to incur expenditure in order to commence procurement proceedings. They can start a procurement process upon approval of procurement plans based on approved budgetary estimates. "The tender committee is now the approving authority for procurement plans," PPOA said.

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