Public Procurement Reforms in Kenya
Public Procurement Reforms in Kenya: In 2003, the Government of Kenya (GoK) began to implement reforms to address inefficiency in the use of public resources and weak institutions of governance. Reforms included the development of anti-corruption strategies to facilitate the fight against corruption and the enactment of the Public Officer Ethics Act 2003, the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003, the Financial Management Act 2004, and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005. The latter will make the public procurement process more transparent, ensure accountability, and reduce wastage of public resources.
A 2005 Independent Procurement Review, conducted jointly by the GoK and the European Union, identified several critical problems with Kenya’s procurement system. The review found weak oversight institutions, a lack of transparency, poor linkages between procurements and expenditures, delays and inefficiencies, and poor records management. The GoK sought to improve its public procurement systems by enacting the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and creating the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA). Regulations implementing the Act were gazetted by the GoK on January 1, 2007.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selected Kenya as eligible to receive Threshold Program (TP) assistance in September 2004, inviting the GoK to submit a Threshold Country Proposal. At that time, Kenya failed four of six MCC indicators in the Ruling Justly category, including the Control of Corruption indicator (through FY 2007, Kenya has continued to fail the Control of Corruption indicator). In February 2007, the MCC board approved the Kenya Threshold Country Proposal.
The objective of the Kenya TP is to support public procurement reform (Component One), with a special focus on the Ministry of Health (Component Two). A third Component will improve the capacity of civil society institutions to effectively monitor and report on public procurement practices. Achievement of results under the TP should improve Kenya’s performance with respect to the critical indicators related to control of corruption, immunization rates, and health expenditures. Principal GoK partners in implementation of the TP will be the Ministry of Finance, the PPOA, the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis.
This project was awarded to ARD under the Building Recovery and Reform Through Democratic Governance (BRDG) IQC. The program is funded by the MCC in cooperation with USAID.Through this project, ARD supports the overall objective of Component One, which is to strengthen the PPOA to reform the public procurement process in Kenya. There are five core activities:
- Strengthening the capacity of the newly created PPOA
- Designing and implementing a PPOA internal website
- Rolling out new procurement regulations and guidelines
- Instituting proper records management protocols for public procuring entities
- Supporting the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program
ARD will first approach the task by conducting a needs assessment that covers the full range of PPOA functions. Based on diagnostic assessment findings, ARD will formulate a comprehensive capacity-building program for the PPOA’s staff, advisory, and review boards. ARD will also develop a project implementation plan covering the five key areas mentioned above. ARD will approach the tasks holistically to avoid stovepiping and to support the GoK’s efforts to control corruption, improve public services, and improve Kenya’s performance on critical corruption indicators. Component 1 of the TP is the foundation for strong and transparent links between procurements and expenditures, high standards of health care service in critical government ministries and offices, and robust capacity in government, private sector, and civil society to monitor progress and advocate for reforms.
Ultimately, the team’s success and that of the TP will be measured by the ability and willingness of Kenyan citizens, with their elective and appointed leaders, to take ownership of reforms and resolve to fight corruption for the betterment of millions of people. As prime contractor, ARD and its core partners will utilize the services of key Kenyan firms and NGOs in website design, public information dissemination, and policy analysis and review. These Kenyan entities include 3Mice (a website firm), Gina Din (a media and public information firm), the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (a private think tank and public policy NGO), and the Kenya Institute of Supplies Management (an association of procurement and supply chain professionals). The core long-term staff includes a Project Manager, procurement training specialist, audit oversight specialist, regulatory specialist, and M&E specialist. These long-term individuals are backed by short-term technical assistance in specific areas including training and human resources, audit enforcement, legal and regulatory procedures, public awareness, and framework contracts for technical sectors (health, public works, education, and energy).
Anticipated results are:
- Training of PPOA advisory and review board members and staff in oversight and procurement training of trainers
- Training of procurement professionals from as many as 80 ministries, departments, and agencies in new procurement laws, regulations, record-keeping, and other procedures
- Design and establishment of a PPOA internal website
- Roll-out of new procurement regulations and guidelines
- Use of standard forms (hardcopy or electronic) in participating procurement entities
- Increased GoK and public awareness and understanding of the PPOA’s role in public procurement reform