This Country Procurement Issues Paper (CPIP), is an interim assessment of the public procurement system of The Gambia based on the self-evaluation conducted by the Government in early 2005. The CPIP follows-up the Country Procurement Assessment Review (CPAR) undertaken in 1998, which led to the preparation and implementation of the public procurement reform program. Since the 1998's review, progress has been made especially in the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework. In 2001, Parliament adopted the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that defines the rules for public procurement. The PPA complies with the international best standards with a few exceptions. The PPA created a regulatory authority, The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), to supervise the sector. Under the leadership of GPPA; The Gambia has made slow but steady progress towards a more transparent and more efficient procurement system. As of June 2005, the International Development Association portfolio includes five projects with a total commitment of US$79 million, of which US$28.5 million is undisbursed. Country Portfolio Performance Reviews have concluded that the overall performance of the portfolio is generally weak. Procurement is no exception: Post Procurement Review carried out in 2004-2005 have concluded that (1) procurement planning needs to be improved, (2) bidding documents and requests for proposals need to be improved, (3) delays in bid evaluation and contract award are excessive, and (4) the approval of contract award by Authorities other than those mentioned in the Public Procurement Act (PPA) should be discontinued. The CPIP focuses on the following areas, called the four pillars of a sound procurement system: (1) the clarity of the legal and regulatory framework within which the public procurement currently operates; (2) the public procurement institutions, organization, and associated risks; (3) the procurement operations and market performance; and (4) the integrity of the public procurement system. Recommendations made under each of the four pillars are interwoven; their implementation impacts not only the foundations of the particular pillar but also that of the overall public procurement system.
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