Set to roll out electronic public procurement system, dubbed “Umucyo e-Procurement System of Rwanda,” at all public entities.
The move, officials said, is in a bid to transition from the paper-based work toward the digital age.
Since the launch of Umucyo e-Procurement System of Rwanda, in July, about eight public entities, 81 procurement officers, and 275 bidders and suppliers have been registered and started using the system, according to Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA).
Speaking to journalists in Kigali, last week, Augustus Seminega, the RPPA director-general, said early next year all the government entities will have transitioned to the new digital system.
“So far, the results are quite encouraging because most of the activities that are supposed to go through the public procurement process are now being conducted by the procuring entities through this system,” he said.
“The entities have not met major difficulties, their procurement plans have been loaded to the system, some of them have been able to advertise their tenders, some of the tenders have been opened and their evaluation has been completed.”
However, Seminega added, by April next year, all the public entities will have joined the system.
“It is mandatory; we have been doing our best to inform and educate them about the system, and we are still doing it,” Seminega said.
While developing the system, it was believed that it would ensure transparency and accountability in procurement and increase the ability of the country’s entities to deliver better services to citizens.
It was expected to, among others, to reduce corruption scandals that are committed through physical contacts between bidders and government officials.
“We know that one of the biggest problems caused by papers in public procurement is corruption because a bidder and a public entity are both able to negotiate physically, a bidder begging for documents or information while an official asking to be paid, for instance. This system will reduce the possibility of this happening as all the information, documents, and request for payments are submitted and received online,” Seminega said.
The electronic system has the ability to collect and analyse the data hence removing chances for anomalies to happen, reducing time wastages using paper works, and saving money that was previously wasted in the process.
WHAT SUPPLIERS SAY
Blaise Mpakaniye, one of the suppliers who have joined the system, said the benefits started being realised since it was launched.
“Previously, we used to pass through a long process, carrying papers every time you go for a tender where there were higher chances of losing them, spending a lot of money, and sometimes there was no trust among the bidders and the public entities. Today, I prepare my document and send it digitally without having to go to the office and I am rest assured it is protected and secured as no one else has access to it unless the tender is officially announced,” Mpakaniye told The New Times.
So far, there are 60 tenders submitted through the system, 15 have been opened, 13 have been fully evaluated, and two succeeded.
There are different categories of people who have been trained, including procurement officers, bidders and agents, and some 13 Internet cafes operators.
The Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning; Infrastructure; and Health, as well as Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda Transport Development Agency, and Gasabo and Kicukiro districts, are using the system.
By using Umucyo, the Government purchases goods, services and non-consultancy services to help ensure efficiency of public procurement with the standardisation of electronic documents, supplier registration, goods and services information and to streamline public procurement transactions for efficient service delivery, according to officials.