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Public procurement system has attracted many complaints, with opponents saying it is poorly-managed, undermining Ethiopia’s socio-economic policies and poverty reduction programs.
It has been criticized as corrupt, along with land administration and taxation schemes.
Many experts say that poorly-managed public procurement accounted for almost 70 per cent of the entire public budget, cutting across nearly all sectors of government and investment projects.
Sources say the government has worked hard to implement systems for better management of public procurement in recent years.
Problems routinely noted with the existing system include unfair evaluation using systems not made clear early enough, collecting proforma from too few companies, setting evaluation criteria after the collection of applications, opening bids before the end of announcement periods and failure to use proper documents.
The Federal Public Procurement Agency (FPPA) organized a forum for the private sector to enhance awareness of the rules governing public procurement to allow companies to contribute in making the system fair, transparent and effective.
The agency organizes regular training for the public sector and government departments involved in public procurement, according to Woldeab Demisse, Director of Procurement Implementation and Property Disposing Compliant Investigations at the FPPA.
“These training and awareness creation programs let the private sector know that the governmental institutions that float tenders are not the last to decide on whatsoever they like as far as public procurement is concerned. There is a board that accepts complaints if government institutions don’t comply with rules and regulations of procurement, “ he said.
The number of complaints filed with the Board has increased by 110 percent, according to the director.
In 2011/12, the number of complaints was only 48, but that increased this year to 100.
Almost 70 per cent went in favor of the company filing the complaint, while many bids were canceled as a result of not complying with the rules and regulations.
“The increase in the number of complaints partially shows that the awareness creation programs we hold for the private sector is working,” said Woldeab.
“It shows that they have started being confident in the making of the system.”
He said the agency focuses on procurement for public universities where huge money is believed to be mismanaged.