5 April 2011 | Angeline Albert
The government of Uganda has appointed Cornelia Sabiiti to the post of executive
director of the Public Procurement and Disposalof Public Assets Authority (PPDA),
which is currently helping SMEs access government contracts.
A lawyer by profession, Sabiiti holds a
post-graduate diploma in public procurement management from ILO Turin in Italy,
and has seven years’ experience as a legal adviser to the PPDA. Sabiiti first
joined the organisation in 2004.
On 31 March, the PPDA announced it had completed its Access to
Procurement (A2P) project aimed at helping SMEs access government purchasing
opportunities. Sabiiti has been responsible for managing the project, which was
carried out by London-based SME procurement consultancy Nichols Training. The
work identified challenges preventing SMEs from getting a bigger share of
procurement and developed a three-day training course to help overcome these
So far 16 people have been taught to be trainers. Together they
trained the first 103 SMEs in December, many of whom are now seeking government
Edgar Agaba, former executive director of the PPDA, said: “SMEs
are now in a position to get vital skills to tap into the huge public
procurement market. We are making our procurement system world class, but it
can be very difficult for SMEs to gain access. This is a practical initiative
to help them.”
PPDA is a key stakeholder in the development of a new strategy to
help SMEs access public procurement contracts through preference schemes that have been proposed in an amendment to
the PPDA Act. These preference schemes give small and medium-sized businesses
more chance to win deals.
Agaba added: “We are exploring various strategies with our
partners to expand the A2P to all areas of Uganda. This is only the beginning,
we should build on it because the demand is huge. SMEs have the potential to
create jobs and add value to Uganda’s economy. The A2P programme will open
doors tothemillions of shillingsofcontractsofferedby the publicsector.”
The government of Uganda first began reforming public procurement
and disposal in 1997.