More districts embrace open contracting in Uganda; registered on the Government Procurement Portal

On 03rd July 2020, the Local Governments of Lamwo, Serere, Kotido, and Yumbe registered for the first time on the Government Procurement Portal. The Procurement officers received training on how to upload procurement information on the GPP that was organized by AFIC in collaboration with the Performance Monitoring Directorate of PPDA.  The training was as a result of the Contract Monitoring report that indicated the 15 project district disclosure on GPP is led by Soroti DLG, followed by Arua and Adjumani. The disclosure on the GPP by Agago, Pader, Koboko, Nebbi, Gulu, Kumi, and Nwoya is below 5 plans, tenders, and awarded contracts while Yumbe, Kotido, Kaboong, Lamwo, and Serere have not been disclosing and are not registered.

“I would like to convey my special gratitude to AFIC for organizing this training, I had never used GPP before, but is there a way the GPP can include features that allow submission of multiple procurements”. Kana Taban, Procurement officer, Yumbe District Local Government.

Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in collaboration with OXFAM is implementing a project entitled “An Efficient Public Finance System in Uganda: Promoting Fiscal Measures That Will Enhance Inclusive Growth And Active Participation Of The Citizenry” which, inter alia, aims to contribute to increased public financing to social sectors, such as health, education, agriculture, and social protection, with emphasis on addressing the needs of the vulnerable women, youth and men. The project is implemented in 15 Districts of Sorori, Serere, Kumi, Kaboong, Kotido, Gulu, Nwoya, Lamwo, Pader, Agago, Arua, Adjumani, Koboko, Nebbi, and Yumbe.

Over the years, AFIC’s Open contracting interventions revealed that the lack of appropriate checks and balances and citizen’s voices and participation triggers widespread bureaucratic, political, and grand corruption. Public procurement and contracting, one of the key areas where the public and private sector to interface financially, is a prime candidate for collusion, cronyism, as well as outright bribery.

Currently, the GPP has 53 District Local Government registered out of 136 Districts, with the 53 DLGs not disclosing all the required information from planning to contract to award. Procurement transparency is expected to result in better value for money, reduced corruption, increased service delivery, and better development outcomes through its impact on the quality of governance.

Importance of Proactive Disclosure:

Section 45 of the PPDA Act 2003 requires that all procurement and disposal shall be conducted in a manner which promotes transparency, accountability, and fairness. Transparency in public procurement means that information on the public procurement process must be available to everyone including the contractors, suppliers, service providers and the citizens at large unless there are valid and legal reasons to keep certain information confidential as described in section 47 of the Act

Proactive disclosure is meant to inform citizens of information that allows them to hold the government accountable. Mass dissemination of public information is an efficient and cost-effective means of providing citizens with information to which they are entitled. Educating and training government officials of their responsibilities under access to information laws is critical if there is going to be real transparency and a government that is truly accountable to the people it serves focusing on the impact of contract transparency on reducing corruption.

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