Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) has welcomed a proposal by Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to reserve 15% for special interest (women, youth and persons with disabilities groups in Uganda.
This was revealed during a stakeholder consultative meeting organized by AFIC in coordination with PPDA Uganda on 9th, May, 2023 at PPDA main offices in Nakasero, Kampala Uganda .
The purpose of the consultative workshop was to discuss the PPDA’s Draft Guidelines for Special Interest Groups. It also sought stakeholder feedback and suggestions on the proposed guidelines, as well as proposals for inclusion in the guidelines.
PPDA Uganda intends to issue the procurement guidelines on interest groups in the new Financial Year (FY2023/2024).
These guidelines have been developed following recommendations from among others, AFIC’s recent study on barriers and solutions for including Women- Led Businesses (WLBs) in procurement. The study established that only 1% of WLBs participate and win procurement contracts. Other barriers included; lack of access to finance, lack of a definition for WLBs, lack of gender disaggregated data and weak capacity to prepare bids.
The study also identified that whereas the PPDA ACT 2003 as amended in 2021 provided for participation of special interest groups but this was yet to be implemented. The study therefore recommended that government through PPDA puts in place measures to operationalize this provision through guidelines or regulations.
A total of 33 stakeholders attended the workshop. These included; Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, National Women’s Council, National Council of People with Disabilities, UN women, and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (PPMD).
Others included; Local Content Unit, Performance Monitoring Department, Legal and Investigations department, Technical Committee of Managers (TECOM), FOWODE, Institute of Social Transformation, UWEAL, ), Technical working committee on guidelines and regulations.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Gilbert Sendugwa, the Executive Director of AFIC, recognized the presence of all stakeholders and thanked PPDA for being inclusive. He also applauded the commitment of PPDA in including special interest groups specifically women whom he said had earned only 1% of procurement contracts. This was highlighted in the recent study.
Mr. Sendugwa added that in 2019, PPDA and other five EAC member states regulators, passed a resolution to promote participation of special interest groups, this same resolution was re-echoed at the most recent EAPF in March 2023. It is for this reason that AFIC sought to facilitate consultations with PPDA, Ministry of gender, development and social justice, and stakeholders on draft guidelines that would inform regulations to promote the participation of women.
Speaking during the engagement, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Assistant Commissioner, Ms. Maggie Kyomukama, assured stakeholders of the Ministry’s commitment, and the commitment from the various councils of special interest groups. On behalf of the ministry, she committed to have several engagements with their constituents on the draft guidelines and this agenda.
UN Women representative, Sheila Mushabe suggested that key performance indicators be put in place for the guidelines to avoid creating more barriers. She applauded AFIC for organizing the engagement and undertaking the study that has informed this important discussion.
The proposed guideline defines WLBs as an enterprise that is at least 51% women owned, controlled and operated on a regular basis by one or more women who are Ugandan citizens. Youths are defined as those between 18 and 30 years of age. And People with disabilities are defined as persons with disabilities.
The guideline also proposes that 15% be reserved for special interest groups, with women receiving 8%, youth 5% and people with disabilities receiving 2%.
Following the meeting, various recommendations were made to improve Draft Guidelines. These included; putting in place key performance indicators for the guidelines creating various tiers, annual ranking and rewarding compliant entities be taken up by the performance and disclosure be done with accessible formats among others.
Stakeholders applauded AFIC for the study report and for initiating stakeholder engagements for inclusive procurement and proposed that more engagements be made.