Process to allow e-procurement ‘underway’
It has been learnt that the process meant to clear the way for introduction of e-procurement in the country has already begun.
This was revealed by PPRA’s Manager for Systems Support and Administration, Mr. Bernard Ntelya, during a workshop on Procurement Governance, which was held in Morogoro recently.
Mr. Ntelya informed the participants that the new Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2011 provides for introduction of e-procurement system in the country.
He said that the currently used legislation (PPA 2004) does not recognize electronic documents as valid and authentic representation of records. “To a large extent, the current act supports paper-based procurement undertakings and does not recognize electronic signatures and technologies such as public key infrastructure that supports digital certification.”
Mr. Ntelya also said that PPA 2004 does not recognize some actions carried out electronically including online dispute settlement mechanism, adding that the legal framework as a whole does not address potential data protection and privacy related aspects of e-procurement.
He said that introduction of e-procurement system in the country requires capacity enhancement of bodies responsible for overseeing and undertaking procurement functions, adding that “current capacities of such bodies in terms of resources and skills needed to manage the e-procurement systems are not adequate.”
During the workshop, the participants were also informed of common challenges facing the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Tanzania and all over the world. Some of the challenges mentioned were lack of trust and security problems due to cyber-crimes and piracy, which seem to make some stakeholders suspicious when they ponder about the risks which could befall e-procurement.
Notwithstanding the challenges, the participants commended the introduction of the system and said that it would enhance competition and transparency in public procurement. They indicated their readiness to provide support to PPRA in its efforts towards the use of ICT in public procurement.
The workshop attracted more than 400 participants who were mainly members of tender boards, heads of procurement management units as well as representatives of user departments and internal audit units of procuring entities.