Tanzanian buyers told to reform IT procurement

18 April 2013

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18 April 2013 | Helen Gilbert

Public purchasers in Tanzania have been ordered to improve the way they buy IT equipment, after an audit discovered “inadequacies” in the way goods were being purchased.

The recommendation follows a National Audit Office of Tanzania review of departments, including The Ministry of Finance and its public procurement policy division (PPPD), the Government Procurement Services Agency (GPSA), the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology and four other ministries.

The investigation found that buyers were purchasing more equipment than needed, under-utilising equipment that had been bought in, failing to develop a coordinated schedule of requirements and specifications for IT goods, not inspecting equipment during delivery, and failing to adequately monitor their own performance and that of their suppliers.

The Performance Audit on Management of Procurement of ICT Equipment in Public Sector report also revealed that the PPPD had failed to prepare the national procurement policy or develop procurement standards for public bodies within the planned three years, although money allocated for the activity had been spent.

Report recommendations included:

       Considering compatibility with existing equipment and avoiding the procurement of equipment beyond the real needs

       Involving experts in the IT field either from within the buying authorities or from the parent ministry (for example the Ministry of Communication, Science, and Technology) in setting technical specifications

       Making use of the list of suppliers and recommended price ceilings provided by the GPSA as much as possible

       Periodically preparing and submitting reports on supplier performance - information that should be made available to other buying departments to help them identify under-performing suppliers.

“The findings… have led us to conclude that: procurement entities were not adequately establishing needs and setting specifications for the purchased ICT equipment,” the report stated.

“There were significant variations in prices of ICT equipment which did not always reflect superiority of specifications; the Ministry of Science has not prepared specifications and schedule of requirements for use by the procurement entities (PE); the quality of ICT equipment purchased by the PEs was not adequately controlled; monitoring of suppliers’ performance was not adequately conducted by procuring entities; despite being one of their obligations, PPD (Public Procurement Policy Division) has not included monitoring and evaluation of procurement performance among their priorities for the last three years.”

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