Friday, September 18, 2015

Observing procurement guidelines in cooperatives

By Bob Aston
Observing public procurement guidelines can enhance transparency in Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society. Mr. Joseph Chege, Ol-Jorok Sub County Cooperative officer said that public procurement covers all types of acquisitions made by or on behalf of public entities in Kenya. 
He was speaking during a two days Financial and Procurement Policy Workshop organized by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) for the cooperative committee members at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, Laikipia West Sub County on September 10-11, 2015.
Some of the committee members during discussions

The Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 (Act) in conjunction with the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006 (Regulations) governs the operation of the cooperative.
The Act established the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) to ensure compliance with the procurement procedures under the Act, to monitor the public procurement system and assist in its implementation.  Under the Act, co-operatives are Class B Procuring Entities. 
“Each procurement should have its own lines, one for the plan and the second for actual outcome. All procurement must be included in the plan.  Public money should be spent prudently,” said Mr. Chege.
He said that they should observe the six “rights” of procurement. They include: right item; right quality; right quantity; right time; right place; and right price. The five pillars of procurement namely accountability, transparency, integrity, value for money, impartiality, and fare competition should also guide the procurement process.
He said that the cooperative premises and other information dissemination channels are ideal when advertising for tenders. The main procedures for public procurement are Open Tendering, with Request for Quotations (RFQ) for lower value orders. 
For a major procurement, pre-qualification may save the cooperative time by allowing identification of suitable suppliers while the specification is not yet ready. It can reduce the workload of both suppliers and the cooperative.
Mr. Chege taking the committee through the procurement policy
He noted that the tender/procurement committee should always ascertain that the tendering process is transparent. 
They also approve procurement methods, award tenders, and procurement contracts, carry out quarterly reviews on quotations by tender committees, as well as amendment of contracts.
He said that all committees involved in procurement should attempt to reach consensus on their decisions. 
However, if consensus cannot be achieved a vote should be taken.  The cooperative is required to produce an annual plan of all the procurements it intends to carry out in the following financial year.
In the event of a cancelled procurement, the cooperative should refund all fees paid by tenderers. The cooperative must monitor the contractor’s progress in delivering the contract regularly and take action in accordance with the contract when a problem arises.
“The cooperative should observe the farming calendar to ensure procurements are timely to avert delays and holding stocks, works or services. Proper procurements records for a period of six years from the date of contract or order should be available,” said Mr. Chege.
ALIN has been offering various capacity building trainings to the cooperative members since its formation in 2013. This has enabled the cooperative to be among the leading cereal cooperatives in Laikipia West Sub County.
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