Home Governance As Calls For Transparency & Accountability Mount: GOL Adopts Electronic Procurement System…. Several Line Ministries, Agencies & Commissions Rolled In

As Calls For Transparency & Accountability Mount: GOL Adopts Electronic Procurement System…. Several Line Ministries, Agencies & Commissions Rolled In

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By: Linda Gbartie
MONROVIA: To increase transparency, accountability and reduce the cost of resources that is spent on procurement processes and as well value for money, the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), is expected to conduct/launch the development of a robust Electronic Government Procurement (EGP) System in Liberia.

The EGP will be launched for the first time in Liberia with funding from World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) the Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC).
An international software developer, European Dynamics, was contracted by PPCC to develop the EGPS on a software as an aid service module.

The system is a digital software that is used to carry out all procurement activities in the country.

The significance of the online platform is that it brings transparency to the Public procurement ecosystem and as well efficiency in how PPCC goes about doing business in government.

According to PPCC, several procurement entities have refused to report on a quarterly basis but with the system, they intent to make sure that all public entities are online and to make their reports on time so, that the public can see what they are doing.

Speaking on the system, PPCC Executive Director, Mr. Bodger Scott Johnson, in an interview in Paynesville Tuesday, May 28, 2024, disclosed that they are working and creating awareness for the new EGP system, a digital system that will change the country’s procurement system.

Mr. Johnson indicated that the system will be digitized on a computer and will be built by European Dynamics, company contracted by PPCC.

He said, for the first time, the system will be rolled out in faces, starting with the first six government ministries: Finance, Public Works, Education, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP), and PPCC.

He disclosed that the second face of the exercise will take place next year.
Mr. Johnson said about fifty government entities will be benefit from the system.
According to him, the aimed is to make the country procurement process transparent wherein they will have entity procurement plan, procurement report online so that the public can see everything including those that will want to bid on government contract.
“You will not have procurement director from maybe Ministry of Health saying I have something coming up but everything will be online including the entire procurement plan for the whole year will be on line for people to see,” Johnson said.
He highlighted that procurement process is going paperless.

“Coming to our office with procurement documents, it takes away the human contact, and so institutions bidding process will be online for the public to see what they are bidding, how the process was done, be it selection or restriction,” he asserted.
Mr. Johnson thanked the development partners, World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) for being very instrumental and supportive to the Government of Liberia on the new initiative.
He further stated that they hired a consultant who is working with them and intent to launch the system officially in September of this year.
“We will start the test run of the system starting June 16, 2024 and training will also be conducted for the first six ministries procurement officers in August and officially launch it in September 2024,” he stated.
The PPCC boss mentioned that procurement officers from each ministry will be trained at PPCC and will be given a computer and a scanner to enable them upload documents in the system.
He added that the project is being funded by World Bank and African Development Bank in the tone of over USD3 million.
He said they intent to include the Ministry of State so they are working closely with partners to have the President office involved in the initial stages to have a political buy-in for people to realize that the system is a serious business.
He maintained that the Ministries of State, Finance, Health, Education, LRA, NASSCORP and PPCC are the first batch and seven ministries that will test the system in the first phase.

He emphasized that since the system is new and they are initially rolling out in seven ministries, they still expect ministries to deal with some manual documents but, the goal is, by the end of 2025, all government entities should have the system and using it.
“Training will also be conducted for contractors and vendors who will want to bid on government tenders. PPCC will give them IDs and a passwords even those from civil society who want to see what government is doing with the country’s resources, they can log on and see where procurement is being spent and as well see what Public Works or Health Ministry is buying and as well ask questions. You can be in any part of Liberia even the world and log in, if you want to bid at any ministry, you will see the tenders in any kind of business you do, just log in and submit your proposal and other documents. There will be a time line for you to submit your proposal and the system will cut off once the time is expired so nobody can say you cheated me or it was not a fair process. If a bid is due July first at 2 pm, the system will tell you that you have submitted before 2 or after 2 pm and there will be no argument on who bids late or first,” he explained.
Johnson Continued: “It is a new day for Liberia. Thanks to President Office for being very supportive. This is not about politics, it gives government the future of sustainable financial management. We are the only country in the sub-region that don’t have E-procurement system. It is about transparency; bear in mind that about 40% of our national budget is spent on procurement so we have to be very mindful and ensure that transparency exist and takes away corruption. The government should also bear in mind that 85-90% of corruption in government around the world start from procurement so Liberia should ensure that the system works here so that everybody can benefit and to the country the right track. We went on a tour in Nigeria, and visited Lagos and saw that they have an efficient procurement system and also Edo State has the system which was built by the same company we are using and they did a very good job there. The very day the E-procurement system was launched in Edo the people saw a change in their financial management system; they saw revenue going up and corruption curtail to some extent, so it is a good way to stop the noise on government resources and the rest”.
Mr. Johnson encouraged all Liberian businesses to take advantage of the new E-procurement in order to be in compliance with PPCC.
“There will implementation of a change management deployed in entities to guide the procurement officers to ensure they are used and adopted. There have been instances where you introduced a system and people just don’t want to be bordered with it. The goal of the change management is to encourage people to use the system and adopt the system. PPCC is not political our goal is to make sure that public funds, goods and services are spent according to the law and encourage all government entities to submit their procurement plans because the budget has been passed and entities should be submitting their plans, we are now approaching the six months of the year,” he said.
Also speaking, the EGP system Project Manager and Consultant, Mr. Ezekiel Obazader, stressed that the status of every nation infrastructure development is linked with the efficiency of the public procurement process.
Mr. Obazader said that globally public procurement is seen as the number one corruption risk factor in any government and to address these perceive corruption in procurement, many nations have started adopting best practices which include leveraging technology which brings to bed E-procurement.
He said E-procurement is about collaborative use of technology to carry out all procurement activities as well as contract management activities to ensure efficiency, transparency and value for money.
“The E-procurement project that the GOL is currently adopting will bring to bed a lot of value for money in how a procurement is conducted ensuring compliance and other critical factor that will stick to the nation development,” he said.
Mr. Obazader also revealed that they have developed plans, activities and proceedings to go live, doing testing, training and other activities and as well adopt a strategic plan to see the implementation of the system successful that will include making sure that the political buy-in and sufficient training is made available for those that will be using the system.
He warned that adopting the EGP system in Liberia is a joy that will bring a new dawn to how the public financial management space is changing for better.
He bragged that European Dynamics has developed a lot of system globally and is currently providing software services to over 19 states in Nigeria and including Kenya, Zambia and other African countries and they have a track record of efficiently providing a robust EGP system and which qualified them to meet the needs of the Liberian Government as it relates to public procurement and EGP.
“The system is being developed in modules where you have planning, registration, tendering, evaluation and award which represents the critical aspect of the whole public procurement process so the EGP system I can categorically say that haven’t reviewed the system requirements and specifications that will sufficiently cover everything that pertain to public procurement in Liberia.

The system conforms with the provision of the PPCA which means issues relating to compliance will be successfully addressed and it will provide a centralized view for all procurement data and who ever that has interest in the procurement activities conducted by the government will not have to visit the PPCC, they can just log on and have a view of what is happening to a particular procurement at a particular time and as well know the status of every process,” he maintained.
He added “the system is robust and there is sufficient audit trill which brings to bed accountability of using the system. Everyone using it will be held accountable for their action. This is not the time to say this person did this, there is an audit trill that everybody or whatever action that appears on your dash board require you to act and there is a log of all activities that you will do on the system, so this brings about accountability into the whole procurement process”.

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