By Olimatou Coker
At least eighty government procurement officials, including students of the Gambia Public Procurement Institute (GPPI), commenced a six-week professional training at the Sir Dawda Jawara Conference Centre on Tuesday.
The training organised by the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPs) is geared towards ensuring quality and professionalism.
The training funded by the World Bank through the Gambia Fiscal Management Development Programme is expected to institutionalise a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism for capacity building, promote professional public procurement functions, and design a learning approach that includes a structured learning method to programme the different grades of procurement.
The GPPA’s DG, Phoday Jaiteh, said the training is part of the authority’s ongoing reforms to professionalise the country’s procurement functions. He said prior to the training, the consultant, the Chartered Institute of Procurement, conducted an institutional diagnostic of public sector institutions and a capacity assessment of procurement officials in March 2023.
“The outcome of the diagnostic report and recommendations outlined the design and implementation of a public procurement cost curriculum and certification that will lead to the professionalisation of the country’s procurement function,” he said.
He urged the participants to actively participate in the training.
“This is the first time in 22 years that we have begun to authorise procuring institutions to conduct their own procurement without coming to the GPPA. The first batch was completed, and we will start the second batch this month or next month,” he said.
He said the idea is to authorise all government procurement institutions and local government authorities to conduct their own procurement without coming to the authority unless for certain procurements, like single source.
“This is a sort of evolutionary reform in this country,” he said.
He said the reforms and continuous professional development courses will add value to the procurement profession in the country and help procurement organisations across all sectors improve standards.
Maurice J Gomez, of the Gambia Public Procurement Institute, said there are plans for GPPI to partner with world-class universities, including the University of the Gambia and the University of Turin, to train young Gambian procurement officials.
Paul Jackson, from the Chartered Institute of Procurement, said the training will build the capacity of procurement officials to ensure public funds are properly utilised to drive value.
The World Bank representative, Nganarr Sosseh, a procurement specialist, said it is always important to follow procurement rules.