George Kebaso @Morarak
The government wants all accounting officers and procuring entities to give locally-manufactured products a priority to promote the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ initiative.
National Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich announced this in his budget estimates for the 2018/19 financial year yesterday. “This directive will enhance transparency and accountability in public procurement and asset disposal,” he said.
This comes a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all State corporates to publish details of tenders awarded for the delivery of goods and services beginning July 1 for accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.
‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ is a government policy adopted to safeguard and strengthen the local manufacturing sector.
For Kenya to transform into a higher middle-income economy, the government feels there is need for more deliberate action to promote local industry.
The policy is meant to tap 40 per cent of local content participation in capital-intensive projects, including infrastructure and energy development.
Rotich said all accounting officers will be expected to share the reports on contract awards with the National Treasury and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) for publication on their websites.
However, where an accounting officer would be unable to procure items wholly or partially manufactured in Kenya, they will be required to do a report explaining why they were unable to do so.
“We intend to make procurement as transparent as possible. Accounting officers are required to publish and publicise all procurement contracts on their websites, the State portal and tender notice boards with effect from July 1,” he said.
The publication, he said, shall contain names and designations of the tender evaluation committee members; the name of the contractor or supplier awarded the tender; names of the directors of the awarded firm; the contract price and tender sum; and the contract period, including commencement and completion dates.
Rotich said Treasury has undertaken reforms to improve the Public Procurement and Disposal System to efficiently manage the country’s resources. “This has simplified the procurement process,” he added.
Procurement through Integrated Financial Management System, established in 2013, has faced a number of challenges, where a number of loopholes exposed it to fraudsters who used it to steal from the government.
He said the margin of preference shall also be extended to local contractors/suppliers where Kenyans are shareholders and offering goods manufactured, assembled, mined, extracted or grown in Kenya.
“We are working closely with key investigative agencies of Government, including the EACC, National Intelligence and the Director of Criminal Investigations to identify and seal any loop holes that corrupt individuals may be using within the IFMIS system,” he stated.
And to strengthen the various institutions that are mandated to fight corruption he allocated up to Sh18 billion to six government agencies.
“I have allocated Sh2.9 billion to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), a further Sh2.9 billion to the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP); about Sh161.0 million
to the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), and Sh587.0 million to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC). I have also allocated Sh6.4 billion to the Criminal Investigations Services (DCIS), and Sh5.1 billion to the Office of the Attorney General,” he added. He emphasised that the steps taken are part of the wider plan to grow the economy at least 5.8 percent this year.