SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF MANUAL
Public procurement in Sierra Leone is subject to the Public Procurement Act 2004 (Gazette Vol. CXXV, No. 70). Legislation can only provide the overall rules to be followed, and with the increasing value and complexity of procurement, effective guidelines and step-by-step procedures are required to assist Civil Servants involved in the procurement process.
The lack of a strong procurement profession and inadequate training of staff has led to many different interpretations of procurement procedures throughout the Civil Service and Government owned organisations. Inefficiencies, poor specification of requirements, inadequate bidding documentation and procedures, corrupt practices, payment delays and inadequate contract management, have increased the cost of much public procurement to prices well above market rates.
1.1.2 Purpose of Manual
This Manual details the standards, policies and procedures to be followed in the procurement of goods, works and services within the public sector, and also includes a section for guidance on asset disposal procedures. These standards, policies and procedures are designed to:
- guide the procurement and asset disposal processes;
- provide uniform procedures for the procurement of goods, works and services and for asset disposal;
- ensure transparency and accountability in all operations, and consistency with the guidelines of donors where necessary;
- improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations;
- promote the consistent application of best procurement practices and international standards.
1.1.3 Application and Limitations of Manual
This Manual applies to the procurement operations of all Government organisations as defined in Part 1, Section 1 of the Public Procurement Act 2004.
In the event whereby Public Sector entities have their own specialist procurement regulations and procedures manuals, which have been subjected to formal certification and approval by the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA), the provisions of this Manual will apply when there is no conflict with procedures or standard documentation as detailed in the specialist manual.
Where procurement is financed by a donor the provisions of this Manual will only apply when there is no conflict with the terms of the financing agreement, the guidelines, procedures or standard documentation required by the donor. In the case of any conflict the procedures and decisions of the donor will prevail.
The Manual covers the standard procurement cycle from initiation of a procurement to final delivery or performance and contract completion. It will help to:
- remove or minimise the need for making new decisions every time a comparable situation arises;
- introduce standard bidding documents and procedures for all routine procurement activities;
- provide a point of reference against which principles and practices can be evaluated; and
- serve as a training manual for Civil Service staff and provide guidance based on best international practices.
Consistent application of the provisions and procedures of the Manual throughout the Civil Service is essential to achieve improved efficiency, transparency, uniformity of documents and decisions, and reduced costs of procurement for the Government.
It is intended that the Manual will be subjected to continuous upgrading by the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) to reflect amendments in legislation, changing needs, the commercial environment, and the adoption of new improved procedures and practices.
1.2 DEVIATIONS FROM THE MANUAL
1.2.1 Reasons for Deviation
Deviations to the provisions of this Manual may arise for a number of reasons including the following:
- a special situation, such as an extreme emergency;
- one-off requirements introduced as special provisions in a loan or credit facility which are not otherwise covered in this Manual and do not constitute a revision to the Manual,
- the necessary use of non-standard bidding documents for specialist procurements;
new legislation or government policy change which causes any part of this Manual to be inconsistent with the new provisions until an appropriate revision has been approved.
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