By Nancy Emily Nagujja
Ministry of Trade hosted an on-site change meeting on 22ndNovember, 2021 presenting the e-GP reform to the Ministry. Florence Nakyeyune the project manager electronic government procurement in her presentation explains what e-G is, and why they should adjust to the electronic procurement system.
According to Ms. Florence, e-GP (Electronic Government Procurement) is the purchase of goods, works and services using electronic methods primarily the internet. The e-GP system is here to wipe out the inefficiencies in the physical procurement process, improve time management and improve on the issue of lower bidder participation.
The reasons for low bidder participation include: contract management and performance/ budget absorption, unsatisfactory procurement plan implementation, poor records management, and constrained monitoring of procurement. Low bidder participation has been affected by delays in payments, corruption, high cost of bidding, unclear specifications, and inadequate knowledge on available opportunities, lack of finances and lack of technical capacity to meet the procurement demands.
The e-GP system comes with a number of advantages like improved budget absorption, efficient government service delivery, timely and equal accessibility to tender information by all providers, leveled ground for supplier competitiveness, improved transparency and accountability, improved debriefing of unsuccessful bids obtaining real time feedback on tender specifications, improved contract management and improved value for money for tax payers and development partner funding.
The e-GP reform has made changes in the electronic procurement system like the supplier portal where suppliers register by themselves and do online bid receipt and submissions, online requests and response sent for clarification. In procurement planning, online linkage of the budget to the procurement plan has been worked on as well as online procurement planning and consolidation in the different procurement categories. Disposal planning where board of survey committee drafts consolidation plans per disposal method and confirmation of funds availability against the approved budget.
Online payment forbid participation is now electronic i.e. mobile money, internet banking, and mobile banking among others. Integration with the different systems like URA for Tax clearance certificate validation, NSSF compliance among others. Online payment and initiation of administrative review as well as changes in contract management.
The e-GP reform has registered countless achievements like system readiness (online self-registration, system deployment in 12 entities, operational acceptance, pilot sites transacting on the system end to end from plan to contract management and PPDA registration of providers moved to the e-GP system.
Under Change management, the end user training has been done for all pilot entities and various professional associations like IPPU and CIPS, developed comprehensive campaign content to aid in awareness creations, training materials, activation of mass social media, weekly provider training and stakeholder engagements e.g. CSO, SG, PDES, Providers.
With system support, e-GP support staff has been attached to each of the piloting entities, and help desk tool that is being used to support the entities. e-GP is holding monthly meetings for HPDUs of pilot entities closely monitoring progress and discuss system adaptation.
The procurement sector is set to ensure that all procurements are done on the system. For the case of e-GP implications to the various entity operations, keenness during procurement planning is to be fronted, timeliness of staff in the procurement process which is critical to benefits achievement, strict password protection policy for security and accountability process, alignment of internal processes to e-GP functionality as well as system users having stable internet access.
PDE intends to lean on its critical success factors from the e-GP reform that include; strong sponsorship support, facilitation and adaptation to online training, bidder registration support, real time issue logging and promoting system sustainability at the entity.
The e-GP team has drafted a program for Next Roll Activities that will take place in different entities running until June 2022. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones .We have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek“ Barak Obama.