Role of Procurement Laws in Facilitation of International Trade in East Africa Community
The size of the public procurement in East African countries (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania) is quite considerable. The public authorities spend approximately 10 % of the East African countries GDP and thus, public procurement accounts for a significant portion of the overall demand for goods and services and is increasingly seen as an attractive and feasible instrument for developing society and nation. This study conducted a critical review of empirical literature to establish the role of procurement policies and procedures in facilitation of international trade in East Africa. The general objective of the study was to establish the role of procurement laws in facilitation of international trade in East Africa. The specific objectives of the study were to establish the influence of procurement policies and procedures in trade facilitation and to establish the challenges facing implementation of procurement laws in East Africa Countries. The study used a desk study review methodology where relevant empirical literature was reviewed to identify main themes. The study was informed by institutional and resource based theories. The study found that good laws alone cannot deliver the expectations of East African Countries as far as public procurement reforms are concerned. Numerous instances of corruption and exemption in public procurement have been accounted for in spite of the fixing legal regime in the region. Effective public procurement planning prompts the leads to the identification of major investment opportunities that in turn facilitates budgetary and allocation decision-making of procurement practitioners. However, there is a growing appreciation of the linkages between specific public sector objectives and public procurement practice. The outcomes of the research revealed the importance of procurement function to the East Africa region in trade facilitation. The East Africa Countries should evaluate the existing policies and regulations to ascertain whether the rules governing procurement expenditure are fit for purpose. The main challenges encountered in the procurement process was corruption, delays, collusion and bureaucracy. The study recommended that the EAC countries should adopt open contracting principles and data standard of disclosure and public participation and begin to publish and publicize government contracts throughout the procurement cycle, from the pre-tendering to the post award stage. The laws regulating public procurement in East Africa Countries on trade should make it mandatory for all public institutions to undertake regular training of their procurement practitioners on procurement laws, regulations, record-keeping, and other procedures to improve adherence to procurement regulations and facilitate trade.
Keywords: Procurement laws, policies and procedures, International Trade & East Africa.
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