Monrovia — Thirty-seven procurement staffs from government ministries and agencies as well as partner institutions have begun five-day training in public procurement in Liberia.
The training, which is being conducted under the auspices of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is designed to address the huge capacity deficit in Liberia's procurement sector.
PPCC Chief Executive Officer James Dorbor Jallah told FrontPageAfrica Monday in Monrovia that the training is part of ongoing preparation by the UNDP, which has benefited over 300 persons in the procurement field.
Mr. Jallah said the number is expected to rise, especially when the opportunity is being provided to procurement officers in the public sector.
Participants are also said to be prepared during the training for qualified certificate awards in purchasing and supply from the UK based chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, said UNDP County Director Lamin Beyai.
"We will extend it to other staffs in the financial discipline as a whole, including finance officers, accounting officers, compliance officers and auditors.
So, we intent to train everyone so that can bring out the quality of the work that they do in their respective agencies," Jallah said.
More than 80 percent of people are now participating in the training which according to him speaks volume of PPCC strives to strengthen Liberia's procurement sector.
Jallah noted that the training is basically focused on level two of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing Supply for government employees based on the level of experience they have had over the years.
The PPCC boss noted that participants are expected to receive certificate at the climax of the training which would guarantee them procurement work in the country.
He, however, named the move as a start of reform in the procurement sector, which forms part of their public financial management reform drive.
"This certification is provided by the Chartered Institute for Purchasing Supply based in the UK.
Procurement aspect of it is a bit new; we have a totally new paradigm in our procurement governance.
Before all procurement was done by one agency, GSA," stressing the need to decentralized it.
He maintained that the training of these procurement staffs in the public sectors would beef up their capacity to perform better.
"It will help Liberia to get the best value for its meager resources whenever a government agency does procurement."
"The law requires that at least all agencies should have two persons in their procurement units but there are some that have more than two staffs, so the number of procurement staffs will exceed the targeted 600 persons," Jallah averred.
At the start of the training in Monrovia Monday, UNDP County Director Beyai said a collaboration with Liberia's procurement agency is part of UNDP's own way of enabling Liberia to have a strong accountability system.
According to him, the participation of people from various government sectors would create a sustainable public procurement system in Liberia.
"The participants are drawn from several public sector institutions and international organizations including Liberia Institute of Public Administration, Public Procurement and Concession Commission, National Election Commission, University of Liberia, USAID, UNDP and county based institutions," Beyai asserted.
The training according to the UNDP Liberia boss is being facilitated by a career procurement professional from his entity's project support office in Copenhagen, Denmark.