The Chief Executive Officer of the National Procurement Authority (NPPA) has told newsmen at their median press conference that since he took office at the authority a year ago, he had saved the Government of Sierra Leone $70 million in procurement frailties.
Whilst addressing journalists and procurement practitioners at Lotto head office on Friday, Ibrahim Brima Swarray said the status of the authority in the previous administration did not in any way resemble that of a regulatory authority of a public sector.
He said the Government of Sierra Leone lost millions of dollars in soul sourcing procurement methods during the previous administration and that the default procurement method of competitive bidding as provided for by the Public Procurement Act was recklessly abandoned.
He noted that soul sourcing and restricted bidding were some of the grey areas that the government has been losing millions of dollars.
"These are easy means of manipulating procurement methods. 95 to 98 percent of soul sourcing and restrictive bidding requests have been denied under my watch. This new administration under my leadership has saved the government from losing up to $70 million within one year. This is the direct result of rigid monitoring of procurement processes," he said.
He stated that since President Julius Maada Bio appointed him at the helm of affairs in an institution that was in a moribund state, he strictly focused on achieving a complete transformation in that sector.
He said he was aware of the fact that the job he was about to take was very challenging as he was once a practicing procurement officer and that he knew how procurement process was going on in the country.
He maintained that part of the reforms is the quarterly publishing of Price Norms- a guide to the market prices of commonly used items by MDA's and Councils which helps to streamline and harmonize the purchase of goods in the public sector.
He added that members of the NPPA were particularly pleased to have accomplished that landmark venture, which he said is a statutory requirement of the Authority.
He said apart from contract being awarded to the wrong persons and ballooned prices; soul sourcing and restrictive bidding serve as gateways for bloated contract prices.
He further stated that the authority was still facing a number of challenges particularly with respect to increasing compliance, gaining access to adequate and timely financial resources required to undertake reforms and general capacity constraints across the procurement system.
Meanwhile, Alfred Kandeh, erstwhile CEO of NPPA said though the procurement work was not easy, yet the country before now was envied across the continent because 'we have procurement laws that are second to none'.eHe commended the current CEO for the reformation he had embark on especially the publication of the price norms, thus adding that "It is enshrined in the NPPA Act that, the authority should be releasing price norms on a quarterly basis but that has been a deadwood in this institution. But since Mr. Ibrahim Brima Swarray took over the reams of office at NPPA he reinstituted the publication of price norms"