By Ntokozo Nkambule
The Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) will on 16 January 2023 host a free webinar titled ‘Emergency Procurements Risks & Mitigation Factors’.
The Agency’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vusi Matsebula in an interview noted that hosting such a webinar is very important because of the increase in the application of the emergency procurement processes as well as the increase in inquiries by procuring entities on the process that needs to be followed. Most importantly though he highlighted the need to clarify the need between the emergency procurement method and the procurement method.
“We have observed that the emergency process is often confused with the procurement method, yet it is not per se a procurement method. The webinar will thus provide a detailed understanding of what constitutes an emergency procurement as there is always confusion between emergency procurement and unplanned procurement. The session will further look at the associated risks and how they can be mitigated”
In terms of their target audience for the event the CEO outlined that they expect all procuring entities, the Private sector, Suppliers, SMEs, Civil society, and all other stakeholders with an interest in public procurement and also encourage procurement and supply chain students to attend the webinar since they stand to benefit a lot from the conversations.
Moreover, Matsebula observed that the webinar will also explore the risks associated with emergency procurement processes and also emphasize that emergency procurement does not denote the use of the Single-Source procurement method. He clarified that emergency procurement is a high-risk procurement process as it is often used alongside the Single Source procurement method.
The CEO elaborated on the procurement challenges they have come across as a government agency. “We have noted that procuring entities use ideal procurement methods for a particular procurement requirement, even if the procurement is of an emergency nature, in this view, we expect to see other relevant procurement methods used in matters of emergency procurement such as the request for quotation (RFQ) or limited tendering procurement method where procurement is of emergency nature. Worth noting is that the tendering period for the Limited tendering method can be reduced to seven (7) days as the normal tendering period for the same is 21 days”
In terms of mitigating measures, he said they believe that the webinar will help expose the risks associated with emergency procurement processes and thereby lead to them achieving their goal of preventing, mitigating, and fighting procurement fraud and corruption.
He added that they hope the webinar will lead to an increase in the submission of procurement plans as this is not only a requirement of the procurement laws but also an effort to avoid using the emergency procurement process unjustly.
The webinar will be facilitated by Edwin Muhumuza, the Head of Africa at the Open Contracting Partnership, a global non-profit that was incubated in the World Bank Institute and supports public procurement reform across the globe. Edwin has over a decade of experience designing strategies, fostering partnerships, and implementing electronic government procurement projects to bring about sustainable development through public procurement.
Matsebula concluded by urging stakeholders to attend the webinar and recommend topics for future webinars. “We will be hosting more free webinars as the procurement agency and we would like to invite our stakeholders to recommend topics they would like us to discuss. We have qualified individuals locally and internationally that will assist us deliberate on the different topics as recommended by our stakeholders”