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Sierra Leone

Open Public Procurement Contracting (SL0021)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: National Public Procurement Authority

Support Institution(s): Office of the President, Line Ministries, Anti-Corruption Commission; Transparency International, Open Contracting Partnership, Society for Democratic initiative, Budget Advocacy Network, Network Movement for Justice and Development, Education for All

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Open Contracting and Procurement, Private Sector, Public Participation, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
This commitment addresses corruption and misuse of government funds, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and lack of opportunities for businesses in public procurement and public expenditure.
Main objective
The main objective is to improve accountability of procurement management in Sierra Leone.
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
The government will improve citizen and business access to open, timely, and credible information about public procurement and promote their engagement in monitoring public procurement processes.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

10. Open Public Procurement Contracting

Commitment Text:

The government will improve citizen and business access to open, timely, and credible information about public procurement and promote their engagement in monitoring public procurement processes.

Milestones:

Publish on yearly basis all contracts entered into by Government above the threshold for the preceding year: 2015, 2016

8 Ministries (MOFED, MAFFS, MOHS, MEST, MMR, MWHI, MOE, MTA ) will proactively publish on NPPA websites contracts entered into with private contractors above the threshold on regular basis ( Contract entered between January to December of each year from 2016 to 2018 ).

A forum comprised of public officials, civil society leaders and National Public Procurement Authority to promote open contracting will be established

Responsible institution: National Public Procurement Authority

Supporting institution(s): Transparency International, Open Contract Partnership, Society for Democratic Initiatives, Budget Advocacy Network, Network Movement for Justice and Development, and Education for All.

Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018

Context and Objectives

The procurement of public goods and services by government institutions is a key source of corruption in Sierra Leone. A recent report published in 2016 by the Office of the Auditor General highlighted that public procurement, in the opinion of citizens is the major source of fraud and corruption.[Note145: Audit Service Sierra Leone, http://www.auditservice.gov.sl/report/assl-general-report-procurement-2016.pdf] Public procurement is the largest non-payroll government expenditure in the country and thus warrants particular attention. In February 2016 the parliament passed a new Public Procurement Act to enhance a similar act passed in 2004, which established the National Public Procurement Authority. Among other things, the act made it a requirement to establish a public forum with a variety of stakeholders on open contracting, as well as for government contracts to be published.[Note146: See sections 14 and 26 of the Public Procurement Act.]

The commitment aims to fulfill the 2016 Public Procurement Act by publishing government contracts from previous years beginning in 2015, as well as active contracts through to 2018. It also incorporates a public forum involving a variety of stakeholders centered on contracting but does not provide specifics about what the scope of work or intended results of the forum would be. The commitment is relevant to access to information as a result of the activities intended to publish goods and services contracts entered into by public institutions. Before the commitment was made, government contracts had never been published for the public to see. When fully implemented, the impact of the commitment will be moderate because it only publishes procurement information and not the processes by which public contracts are negotiated and awarded, which stakeholders say requires greater transparency.[Note147: Consensus views of participants at the stakeholder meeting of 20 October 2016.]

Completion

According to an official of the agency, government contracts within the threshold set in the Procurement Act were uploaded on the NPPA’s website during the course of 2016 and 2017.[Note148: According to the Public Procurement Act, 2016, goods and services contracts above 300,000 Leones; and works contracts above 600,000 are to be published. IRM researcher’s interview of head of procurement capacity building, 4 October 2017.] Upon verification the 'contracts awarded' section of the website only provides information for contracts awarded during 2016 and not 2015 as outlined in the commitment text.[Note149: Contract awards, http://www.publicprocurement.gov.sl/index.php/contract-awards] The information lists the contracting institution, the contractor, the value of the contract, date of award, and estimated date of completion.[Note150: Ibid.] Upon further review, not all ministries listed in the commitment text have published contracts in the database. The forum to bring together public officials, civil society, and the NPPA to promote open contracting was not established, but an official confirmed to the researcher that plans to do so in 2018 were under way at the time of writing this report.[Note151: Ibid.]

Next Steps

To fully implement this important commitment, the IRM researcher recommends the following actions:

The NPPA needs to publish the report of the annual assessment of procurement activities online for easier public access.

The NPPA should establish processes that automate the publishing of awarded government contracts. The suggested format for publication is Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS)[Note152: Open Contracting Data Standard, http://standard.open-contracting.org/latest/en/], that promotes the disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the contracting process and not just after the contract has been awarded. It entails publication of contracting documents in a common data model and allows deeper analysis of contracting data by a wide range of users.

The government needs to communicate the terms of reference of the intended forum outlined by the 2016 Public Procurement Act for public officials, civil society, and the NPPA to promote open contracting. The forum should include representatives of all government agencies, local councils, civil society organisations working on public financial management, and trade and commercial associations; and should meet annually to debate the state of public procurement in the country and recommend improvements.


Sierra Leone's Commitments

  1. Gender

    SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  3. Waste Management

    SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget

    SL0015, 2016, E-Government

  5. Audit Report

    SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls

  6. Climate Change

    SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Elections

    SL0018, 2016, E-Government

  8. Record Archive Management

    SL0019, 2016, E-Government

  9. Access to Justice

    SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Open Public Procurement Contracting

    SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts

    SL0009, 2014, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Right to Access Information Law

    SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  13. Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions

    SL0011, 2014, E-Government

  14. Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

    SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  15. Archives and Records Management Act

    SL0002, 2014, E-Government

  16. Scale Up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate

    SL0003, 2014, Public Participation

  17. Compliance with Audit Measures

    SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls

  18. Starred commitment Single Treasure Account

    SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries

  19. Extractive Industry Revenue Act

    SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries

  20. Scaling Up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives

    SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs

    SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building