The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) has revealed that it will conduct an audit into the procurement of gowns by Makerere University following reports that the procurement was irregularly done.
The Acting Executive Director of PPDA, Uthman Segawa told reporters in Kampala on Thursday that the Authority will audit the process to establish whether it contravened the PPDA Guidelines on Local Content Public Procurement.
Last week, Makerere was a subject of public criticism following allegations that it has procured the graduation gowns from China, when there are local service providers capable of making the gowns.
The University administration would later accuse M/s Team Uniform, the company contracted to supply the gowns of breaching contract terms.
The administration denied knowledge of any such arrangement (importation).
On Thursday, PPDA said any supply that is worth Shs 1bn and below should be awarded to local contractors.
The revised Guidelines dated 15th February 2018 provided for exclusive reservation of contracts by threshold for both national and resident providers for supplies whose cost is Shs 1bn and below.
The other category reserved for manufactures with facilities in Uganda, under the guidelines, is Supply of uniforms and related clothing materials, electrical cables and conductors and medicines and medical supplies.
“We are undertaking a contract audit on the procurement of gowns by Makerere University following the press reports. Providers are urged to report any breach of the Guidelines to the Authority.,” Segawa said.
“These gowns are below Shs 1bn so they should have been awarded to a provider with manufacturing facilities in Uganda”.
Southern Range Nyanza, Sigma and Fine Spiners are the three local providers who deal in cloth manufacturing who are catered for under the PPDA guidelines.
“Once we come out with our investigations, we are supposed to make recommendations to the competent authority. Every government institution has a competent authority that oversees it and that is supposed to take disciplinary action in regard to flouting of PPDA law,” Segawa added.
In the case of Makerere, he said the accounting authority is the University Secretary and that the University Council is responsible for taking action.
Makerere entered into contract on 20th February 2017 with M/s Team Uniform for the supply and sale of graduation gowns to Makerere University graduands, under contract Reference Number MAK/SPL/2015-16/00030.
The administration however said the volume of gowns delivered as of Friday last week, four days to the graduation ceremony fell short of expectations. Only 6,383 gowns, 900 caps and 6,792 hoods had been delivered yet the total number of graduands was 13,000.
The University also raised concerns over the claims that the gowns are imported from China.
“It has been reported that part of the gowns delivered were sourced from China. Accordingly, I would like to draw your attention to Section 22.1 of the procurement contract which requires the provider to notify the procuring and disposing entity in writing of all sub-contracts under the contracts”.
Makerere University said it did not received any communication regarding any sub-contracts in this regard, more so from sources outside Uganda.
“As a public entity, Makerere has strong commitment to the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy and therefore considers the award of contracts to local companies as part of its contribution to the promotion of local content as required by the policies of the government of Uganda,” the university said.