Opening up Makueni’s procurement systems

December 18, 2019

Premier open contracting portal launched in Makueni County, Kenya

On December 9 2019, Anti-Corruption Day, in Kenya one message was clear: the fight against corruption needs to be innovative because corruption is likewise becoming more inventive each year.

The occasion was marked in Makueni County by leaders from across Kenya who gathered to celebrate strides made in the anti-corruption agenda.

Hosted by Governor Kivutha Kibwana, anti-corruption government agencies and departments highlighted cutting edge digital spaces that have been adopted by the government. The event also saw the launch of the first open contracting portal in Kenya that Makueni County will use to digitize procurement processes.

Real-time access to data for citizens and contractors

The new open contracting data portal provides users, from citizens to contractors, real time information on procurement data. Currently, an estimated 141 contracts worth KES 911, 367, 524.78 (8,045,079 euros) have been published on the portal. This will go a long way toward introducing clean procurement that will save time and money, and increase efficiency.

Makueni County decided to radically transform its procurement processes for better service delivery in 2018. This included a pledge to implement a new procurement system through the open contracting data standard. With support from Hivos and Development Gateway, the county embarked on digitizing procurement from planning tender documents to implementing contracts.

New frontiers to fight corruption

Governor Kivutha noted that these tireless efforts, which have gone a long way toward establishing institutions and laws to curb corruption, must not stop. ‘’New frontiers to fight corruption are now in the public domain to ensure we deliver on our promise. And to this extent I would like to thank partners such as Hivos and Development Gateway for walking with us the journey of clean procurement,’’ he said.

Tackling corruption by opening tenders for public scrutiny is a major issue in Kenya’s devolved governments. A report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in 2016 showed that procurement irregularities account for the highest forms of corruption due to shoddy implementation of projects.

Innovative approaches get value for money

Hivos East Africa’s Open Contracting project manager, Hope Muli, emphasized that innovative approaches which enable a culture of disclosure can greatly help monitor procurement efficiency and get value for money. ‘’Hivos’ approach to a just and fair society touches on good governance initiatives such as open contracting that ensure transparency and equity in the delivery of quality goods and services to citizens,’’ she added.

This development comes four months after Kenya’s premier media house entered into a partnership with Hivos to establish a procurement portal with real time information that will revolutionize the reporting of public procurement stories in Kenya.

About Open Up Contracting

In many countries, staggering amounts of tax money are not used as planned and fail to deliver promised results. And the public contracting process is complex, opaque and difficult to understand. Our Open Up Contracting program with ARTICLE19 works with local civil society, media, activists, businesses and civic watchdog organizations to develop their ability to conduct oversight of how these funds are spent.