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A collaborative effort for procurement reform in Makueni County

Makueni County has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to adopt the Open Contracting approach - an effort that will transform its procurement processes in order to fight graft.

In collaboration with Hivos East Africa and the Development Gateway, the new partnership will support the County to develop a viable and sustainable approach for effective procurement processes through data collection, public disclosure of tenders, eradication of corruption in use of public funds and greater transparency and accountability in good governance.

Open contracting is a new approach in transforming public procurement. It involves public disclosure of information at all stages of the procurement process, from planning, tendering, awarding, contracting, and implementation to oversight. For effective disclosure of this information, Hivos East Africa will support the adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) by the procuring entities of Makueni County.

Speaking during the MoU signing, County Governor H.E. Kivutha Kibwana welcomed the use of open contracting in a move that will not only reform procurement but deliver quality goods and services to citizens. ‘’Thanks to this new approach, anyone can see what the County government is buying and who got the contract. This means real transparency in fighting corruption,’’ he said.

Hivos East Africa’s regional director, Mendi Njonjo, pledged continued support to Makueni County in adopting the Open Contracting Data Standard in its procurement systems. This will ensure absolute transparency in government spending through pro-active disclosure and healthy business competition for marginalized groups in bidding. ‘’Public procurement is a fiscal route towards empowering women, youth and persons with a disability, and this opportunity must not be lost to corruption, cartels, mismanagement and ineffectiveness.  Open contracting offers a critical key to supporting gender and economic equality goals, as well as other enabling opportunities for vulnerable citizens, by supporting the effectiveness of the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) affirmative action initiative,’’ she added.

According to statistics from the Uwezo Fund, public procurement deals in Kenya for the supply of essential goods and services to citizens in all counties are estimated to be worth Kshs. 1.6 trillion. Essentially, efficient public procurement is often the best indicator of socio-economic transformation.

Open contracting is about publishing and using open and accessible information on government contracting to engage citizens and businesses in identifying and fixing problems.

This new approach, vital in improving the efficiency and transparency of public procurement systems, is useful in detecting fraud and corruption, encouraging competition for public contracts, demonstrating value for money and monitoring service delivery.