Government not ready for e-procurement: IPPR

Only 32 out of 178 government state entities responded to Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein's request to demonstrate their electronic procurement readiness, researcher at the Institute Public Research and Policy, Fredrico Links, revealed today at a presentation on the governments e-readiness.

The presentation and discussion was hosted at the House of Democracy to avail information to the public on the challenges faced by government in migrating from manual to electronic procurement systems.

Links said e-procurement is part of e-governance and the government has not taken advantage of the Estonian governments preparedness in assisting their Namibian counterparts in improving its e-readiness. (the Governments of Namibia and Estonia signed a technical cooperation agreement on the implementation of an e-Government strategic plan in October 2014).

On 20 May 2019, Finance minister Calle Schlettwein issued a letter to all (178) state entities to request they respond to a questionnaire on government's e-procurement readiness, Links said.

The deadline for responses was given as 31 May 2019, but by the end of that month, only handful (32) of entities according to the Procurement Policy Unit (PPU) (a department in the ministry of finance), Links added.

Links said the research questionnaire revealed that government officials did not have an understanding of the research questions, neither did they have confidence in government effectively rolling out an e-procurement system.

The assessment conducted by the PPU with support from the World Bank was aimed at to assisting the country review its procurement practices and to determine the governments level of readiness to make a transition to e-government procurement in a sustainable manner, Links said.

E-governance would improve efficiency, cut costs, improve transparency and accountability. by bringing all systems into one centralised department for ease of use, he further added.

Links said this centralised department would be the Central Procurement Board (CPB).

Links however added that officials from the CPB who also took part in the research questionnaire did not understand whether they are an independent entity or a government entity.

He said this further demonstrated the lack of competency amongst government officials and questioned whether they can effectively introduce and manage a system that they do not even understand.

The presentation and discussion was attended by media, public sector representatives and members of civil society.

Source: Namibia Press Agency