Makueni County ‘s adoption of the open contracting approach in 2018 signaled its commitment to improve efficiency, participation and openness in public procurement. Today, the county has made a step closer in transforming its public procurement processes by joining a movement of local governments and municipalities globally from Phillipines, Indonesia, Argentina, Ghana, Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Nepal, Romania, Canada, France and Kosovo that are leading transparency and accountability reforms in tenders and public contracts.
Speaking at the 2019 Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottawa, Canada, the County Governor, H.E , Professor Kivutha Kibwana welcomed the new initiative as a step in the right direction towards sharing experiences with other local governments and unlocking bottlenecks that inhibit robust reforms in public procurement.
The Local Open Contracting Initiative (LOCI) led by Hivos, Open Contracting Partnership, Development Gateway, Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), Institute for Development of Freedom of Innovation, ILDA and Young Innovators will collaborate with champions in local government, civil society and the private sector to lead ambitious clean and transparent procurement initiatives that will make public contracting effective, smarter and deliver quality goods and services to citizens.
Hivos’ Executive Director, Edwing Huizing, offered continued support to spearhead the adoption of open contracting in local governments as a practice that will not only enable absolute transparency in public contracting but put citizens at the heart of development, ‘’ For Hivos, open contracting is not just about data and contracts but citizens’ rights and access to development,’’ he said.
The goal of LOCI is to spark dialogue between sub-national and national governments and civil society from various parts of the world to ensure efficiency in public service delivery particularly goods and services that affect the quality of life of citizens.
According to the Uwezo Fund, public procurement deals in all counties are estimated to be worth KES 1.6 trillion signaling the biggest indicator of socio-economic transformation if done right.
Open contracting is about publishing and using open and accessible information on government contracting to engage citizens and businesses in identifying and fixing problems. This is an approach that is vital in improving the efficiency and transparency of public procurement systems, detecting fraud and corruption, encouraging competition for public contracts, demonstrating value for money and monitoring service delivery.