Will the Major Tender Board be scrapped?

By Muhammad Bah

The National Assembly recently passed a Bill for the establishment of a Major Tender Board, but now the joint PAC/PEC Committee is now questioning its relevance. National Assembly Members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee PAC\PEC on Monday 19th January 2015 argued that the creation of the Major Tender Board (MTB) affects the Gambia Public Procurement Authority and it seems it is a duplication of institutions.

Deputies and experts from the GPPA now oppose the creation of the MTB.

Fabakary T. Jatta a Member of Serrekunda East said, “We knew nothing about the MTB until we passed the Bill. I think we are not progressing, we cannot be taking ourselves back and forth, and we need progressive actions.” He blamed the technocrats that are the professionals at various Ministries for not advising parliament properly until it passes laws.

He recalled how they argued about the MTB at their caucus meetings but as they lack professional knowledge they allowed it to go through.

 Hon. Jatta argued that instead of the country moving from B to A it is moving from A to B regarding public finance and related issues.

He said parliament needs correct and relevant information from institutions to perform their duties.

Hon. Speaker Abdoulie Bojang asked for the opinion of the experts regarding the MTB and said he would like them to furnish the Assembly with the reality regarding the MTB and the GPPA.

In his intervention during the GPPA review Mr. Alajie T.S Njie, subject matter specialist for PAC\PEC opined that the creation of the MTB affects the GPPA, pointing out that the amount to be procured by the GPPA which is 10 million and below is too small. He told the House about the different procurement units the country had before; that those units were dissolved and the reasons for their dissolution are not different from the reasons for the creation of that of the MTB.

For his part, the GPPA Executive Director Mr. Tumbul Danso said he cannot answer any question regarding the MTB because the GPPA was not aware of the creation of the MTB until it was passed in parliament. “I don’t even know who chairs the MTB,” he added.

Mr. Ebrima Dondeh Chairman of the GPPA Board said he doesn’t see any serious role regarding the MTB which the GPPA could not perform.

In his further interventions, Fabakary T. Jatta said they must try to avoid duplication of institutions because the national resources are small. He pointed out that the amount of money spent on the creation of the MTB could have been used to create new offices and employ people rather than wasting the state resources on allowances, etc.

Mr. John  Blunt, EU short term consultant with the GPPA,  pointed out the need to redefine the roles of the two institutions. He told parliament that they could have a single national procurement authority instead of Major and Minor Tender Boards. He further said that the national procurement authority can be categorized into three procurement levels based on importance.